First loaf was a brick... help?
Hey all! I just tried making my first loaf of sourdough bread, and it was sort of a flop. Can anyone shed some light on what I did wrong?
The recipe I used called for a sponge made with 1 cup starter, 1.5 cups water, and 3.5 cups flour (I used unbleached all purpose). I let it sit overnight, and in the morning found it relatively bubbly and pleasantly sour-smelling. That was the only thing that seemed to go right.
I added 2 teaspoons each of salt and sugar, and 2.5 cups of flour. It seemed awfully wet and sticky, but I figured I'd give it a try and just follow the recipe. I turned it out on the counter and tried to knead it, putting flour on the counter and water on my hands to keep it from sticking; I added close to a cup more flour in an attempt to keep it from taking over my counter, but it did very little to help.
After almost half an hour of kneading, it was still sticking and I still couldn't make the gluteney-dough-windowpane, but I figured that was the best I was going to get. I put it in an oiled bowl, stuck it in the oven with the light on, and left it to rise while I went to run errands. I arrived home several hours later to find that it had barely budged, much less doubled in size. I threw it in a loaf pan anyway (it being too wet to hold its shape especially well), and left it in the oven over night to see if it would make any progress.
After twelve hours more it still hadn't done much, so I decided to bake it just to see what would happen. I preheated the oven, popped the bread in, poured some water in the steam pan, and prayed for a miracle. In about half an hour I pulled out a wonderfully sour, crusty, golden-brown... brick. It tastes marvellous, but has the texture and density of a block of clay. Should I have added more flour for a stiffer dough? Or was it a starter problem?