The Fresh Loaf

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Presidential sourdough weekend

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JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Presidential sourdough weekend

This weekend was a long weekend. Presidents' Day, we call it in the U.S., and presumably, it's a day on which we celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure both presidents ate sourdough bread at some point, given the scarcity and expense of baker's and brewer's yeast. So, in their honor, I baked sourdough. And apparently, the sourdough beasts were having a party as well -- perhaps it was my rigorous application of an 85 degree F final proof? In any case, the sourdough critters were mighty happy over the long weekend.



On Monday, I made a couple of loaves of Five Grain Whole-Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread. I've never had sourdough rise like this before. And, wow, is it sour. I'm not sure what got the lactobacteria so excited -- the butter? the rye chops? the oats? who knows? -- but it is delicious, if, like my wife and I, you like sour bread.

Here's how I made it:

Ingredients:

  • 430g starter (at 60% hydration)
  • 560 grams whole wheat flour
  • 465 grams water
  • 18 grams salt
  • 27 grams butter (roughly 2 Tbs)
  • 170 grams mixed grains (cracked wheat, ground flaxseed, rye chops, millet, steel-cut oats) soaked overnight in 250 grams hot water

How I made it

First, I dissolved (as much as possible) the starter into the water. I then added the flour and salt, and mixed it up until I had a dough. I gave it a good thorough kneading of about 450 strokes, and then added the butter, which I'd cut into pats. I spread half on the dough, folded it over and then repeated it. After another 100 strokes, the butter was mixed in, so I then used the same process to incorporate the grains.

I shaped the dough into a ball and let it ferment for about 4 hours at 68 degrees. It probably tripled in size. Next, I did a stretch and fold, let it rest for 15 minutes, divided it and shaped it into loaves. I then put it in my makeshift proofbox at about 85 degrees F for 2 hours, after which it was just about spilling over the side of the pan.

A slash down the center and then 55 minutes in a steamy 350 degree oven.


On Saturday, I made another loaf of desem bread MountainDog has a beautiful post on her success here. As you can see, though, by the time I got around to taking a picture, there wasn't much left (and, darn it, the best photo I have is blurry -- ah well). In any case, I made it this time at 80% hydration, and was pleased to see that I got an even lighter loaf. Next week, I'll shoot for 85%. For some reason, the crust was not as crispy as it had been last week. Still delicious though, and a good keeper. Two days later, it's still fresh, which is pretty amazing for a lean loaf.


I had some leftover starter, so I took a bit of it, and built it into a wet starter for sourdough muffins. I played around with the recipe a bit. For starters, I doubled it. I also (in the doubled recipe) upped the salt a bit to 3/4 tsp, used brown sugar instead of white sugar, added 1 tsp cinnamon, increased the bluberries to 1.5 cups and only used 1 tsp baking soda for all 12 muffins. They really popped in the oven but, sad to say, they were a bit bland. Next time, I think I'll up the blueberries to 2 cups, use butter instead of oil, and up the salt to 1 tsp. I think I'll also use less hard whole wheat flour and more soft whole wheat flour, and go ahead and acidify the whole thing overnight.

Comments

caryn's picture
caryn

So I know that this has been asked before on this site, but where did you find your rye chops?

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

JMonkey, nice to know we were deseming on the same day! Your second loaf looks even lighter than the 1st, great job...

Funny, I made a second batch on Monday, but did not use the dutch oven, and even though the loaves looked as if they rose higher in the bannetons, they did not get as much oven spring baked on the stone, they were a little on the bland side for some reason...think I'll stick with the dutch oven for this, and may even try maki's n-knead desem at some point.

Great looking muffins, BTW - I have a muffin recipe In posted here that I may try to convert to SD and see how it comes out. Using oil rather than butter should not make it too bland, though (I used to use butter but need to use oil now since being off dairy) - maybe try adding a little vanilla extract and a bit more brown sugar or maple syrup? I use spelt flour in my muffins and the nutty taste the spelt provides is excellent.