January 15, 2006 - 6:02pm
Baking so far
- Banana bread: good, as always. I haven't baked it since the holidays began. Nice to have again.
- Sourdough batch #1: refrigerated overnight. Great flavor, but too dense. About like a bagel. I still ate two-thirds of the loaf.
- French bread: Awesome. Perfect with the pot of soup I made on a cold, damp day. Pictures and more info to come.
- Sourdough batch #2: I thought I did everything right, but instead of springing in the oven it just sat there. Came out with the consistency of mochi, so I just tossed it. I'm not sure if I used too much starter or too little. Shrug. I'm still getting the hang of it.
I'm guessing that your dense sourdough was because you didn't let it proof long enough. Sourdough takes MUCH longer to rise than yeast. I get my best bread when I let my dough rise until it looks almost triple its original size. I have yet to have one fall because it is over proofed. Next time, let it proof until it looks light. You'll get it right if you keep trying!
Another thing--refrigerated dough takes a really long time to wake up and start to grow. I find that when I refrigerate mine I can hardly notice any growth in the morning. Lately I have been making my dough in the late evening and then putting the shaped loaves in an unused room where I have the heat vents closed. I find that it is perfect for a slow rise, and by morning they are still only about half risen. I then take them out of the cool room and place them in the oven with the light on, after I have preheated it for maybe 30 to 45 seconds and then turned it off. It still takes a couple of hours to finish the rise.
You may be right.
The one that came out so-so had been in the fridge overnight. I then gave it 3 1/2 hours on the counter. The room temperature wasn't very high though... 66 or 67.
The one that didn't come out at all I gave 2 hours followed by a fold, an hour and a half then a fold, then 3 hours before popping in the oven. Same cool kitchen. No dice.
I'll have to try the cold room trick. We have one room in our house that is very poorly insulated. We keep it closed off and it gets extremely cold, I would guess close to 50. That may be the perfect place for a long, slow rise this time of year.
The discussion on sourdough's has caused me to start up with naturally yeasted breads again. So two weeks ago I started preping a starter. It was ready to use this weekend and was pleasantly suprised with two resounding sucesses.
As I have tried to figure out sourdough, the most important comment that I have heard yet is: "If the starter cannot raise itself to at least double it volume, it won't be able to raise bread"
I take the ability of the starter to rise itself as the indicator of its usefulness. Perhaps as I learn and experiment I may be able to push it further. But is sure felt good to have success on the first attempt.
P.S. After baking I took the starter and place it, well fed into the our fridge....which promptly failed....so I moved it to a small fridge in the garage, just as the temperature dropped to -20C and my starter froze. I am trying to nurse it back to its pre-freezing activity.