The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Bread Baking Diary

tamraclove's picture

My Bread Baking Diary

Well, I can't say that this blog will be interesting to anyone but me. I have a food blog, published to keep up with my favorite recipes and let my far-away friends and family know what cooking I'm up to. But, I'm the one of the only bread bakers among us, and since I'm just learning I'll have lots of comments (mostly to myself) and I need a place to write them down. So, I guess since I've got blog space over here, I might as well use it!

Just for the record, and in case anyone is interested, I'm a 25 yo SAHM (the 'M' will happen in September 2008!) from Kentucky. I live with my husband (and baby soon) in Scotland on the coast of the Firth of Clyde. I've been cooking seriously since the age of about 14, and am known for my cooking among my circle of friends back home. I've always been able to bake bread, but only the yeasted kind, and not often enough to develop a talent. Just enough to go along with whatever special dinner I happened to be making. I've done wedding cakes for 2 friends, which tasted absolutely wonderful... and flowers cover up a multitude of decorating sins ;-)

Now I'm springing into Sourdough. I began a yeasted starter about 2 months ago, and have been using it in a white-bread sourdough recipe (including more yeast) that I haphazardly converted to WW (converted really isn't the right term - I just replaced all the white with WW). The results were a tasty bread with no oven spring, a completely flat top, and pores big enough for honey to seep through. But, since it tastes good, that's what I've been feeding my DH all this time.

Upon further research, I've decided that I need to get a wild yeast starter going. I'm on day 6 now, and nothing was happening until I gave my WW starter a Rye feeding on day 4 - now things are progressing slowly. Looks like I might have something worth using in about another week.

OK - enough introduction. On to my purpose - a diary of my sourdough baking, mistakes, successes, and thoughts.



tamraclove's picture

The Chocolate Cranberry loaf was my first 100% sourdough loaf.  I won't say too much about it here, because I posted questions about it in another forum.  Here is a link to that conversation.

This loaf was made using my yeasted starter.  My wild starter still isn't ready yet, although today's observation (day 6) shows that it increased by about 50% - the most so far!

Today I'm trying Mike's 100% WW Sandwich Bread.   It looked pretty basic, and I'd like a basic recipe to use every week to hone my skills on. 

My dough is in its first rise right now.  It's been sitting, oiled and covered, in a sunny window (cool kitchen) for 1 1/2 hrs.  It still hasn't doubled yet.  This is the same starter I used yesterday in the Chocolate loaf, and it has been fed twice since then, and I waited until it doubled before stirring it down and measuring it.   

The recipe calls for finely milled WW.  Here in Greenock, I think I only have 1 option for WW.  I need to check at the store again.  As of now, I'm using the store brand Strong 100% Stoneground WW.  The bran flakes are huge - the same size as in the bag of wheat bran that I bought.   I have been reading that the gluten in coarsely-ground flour is not 'available' resulting in shorter gluten strands.  This might also account for the hard time I had in kneading.  I ended up adding just over 1C of additional flour (oh - I doubled the recipe) and it was still quite sticky.

I'm defining sticky like this - wet enough to leave strings of dough attached to my hands, will clean the countertop, but if I leave it sit long enough to clean my hands off, I have to use a scraper to pick up the ball again.

So... if the gluten is shorter, the dough is stickier, wetter, heavier, harder to rise?  Hmm... we'll have to see.  With the Chocolate loaf, it didn't quite double on the first rising, bit it 'nearly' doubled on the second rise, and then I got very nice oven spring.  The conditions were the same - sunny windowsill.  But, the chocolate loaf was made with white flour (WW starter) and this bread is 100% WW - much heavier bread.

More comments will be posted as the day's baking progresses.