My first Sourdough
I have to say, I am surprised. It was much less terrifying than I anticipated. (and i can anticipate terrifyingly with the best of them) Sadly I cant relate any useful information as it was an interesting amalgam of techniques and styles gathered from all over the web and various books. I began my starter somewhat over a week ago, I used info from "joy of cooking" (the original one, not the "pour two cans of this together and call it soup" one that they publish now) ....All the diehard artisans just stopped reading my thread.... ;) I had no idea what to expect since there are so many conflicting... You must do it EXACTLY like this Or EXACTLY like that at EXACTLY this temperature. I mean really? who can follow those kind of explicit guidlines? So I made my starter, at random intervals sprinkled it with water and flour, either all purpose or an organic oatbran I had. By about day six (it smelled really good by about day 3) I tasted it... WOW!!! tangy sour yummy. I then went through a bizzare series of events.. day off, I start my sponge, Waaaay too late in the day for my start but I did anyway. After about 5 hours at room temperature, which was EXACTLY 82 degrees (lol) I said to myself... self, this is going to rise way to slow to start a second rise at 1am, being as you have to work in the morning. I had read in various places, refrigerate it to retard the fermentation so, into the beer fridge it went... as I said I had had the day off so there was room. Next morning before work I peeked... yep still there. An hour or so before leaving work had the wife pull it out to begin warming it up... probably should have been about 4 hours in hindsight. By now its 3-pm we have "Shrek the musical" to go see at 7:30. So I add my additional flour, sprinkle a bit of yeast in some warm water to perk things up since the dough is still very chilly, just about the temp I would have had one of those beers at. Shape form, shape form, stress levels climbing, timeclock ticking. Loaves are in the oven with the light on, 30 minutes, nothing, 45 minutes nothing.... wait wait no its somewhat larger. By 5:45 I had one nice Boule and a "french loaf" shaped loaf, ready to go. Preheated that oven, threw em in, and 40 minutes later Presto SOURDOUGH! (which would have to wait several hours since we were now late for Shrek) got home, cut into that puppy and it was really really good, wife says its the best tasting sourdough she's ever had. I agree it is quite good. It has a very nice consistency (crumb I guess I should call it) crusty exterior. It could be a bit holier I think.. more holey? holier? you know what Im saying. After reading a bit more yes... reading even MORE. I see I should have had a moister dough to achieve that effect. But, being a novice the wet dough was very intimidating. (I still cant watch "The Blob") and I may need more stretch and fold stretch and fold.
All of this being said. I say to anyone afraid to give it a whirl, Go for it, after all they made this stuff in wagons banging across the praries while fending of indian attacks, how hard can it really be?