Sourdough - stay tuned, but don't hold your breath

13 August 2010
I rarely give up on anything.  I like to think that when a difficult household task presents itself,  I step up and work out ways around the problem.  Eventually I get things done.  Nothing should be too difficult.  Enter the sour dough loaf.  Grrrrrrr.  Over the years I have tried to make good sourdough.  I've made sourdough, but none of it is what I would call good.  If I get the taste right, the texture is not good.  If the texture is great, the loaf looks like a science project.  When I bought the artisan bread in five minutes book and used that recipe and method, I didn't like the taste at all.

I am fortunate to be part of my blog neighbourhood.  Recently one of my blog neighbours sent me a sourdough starter.  His name is Henry.  Henry has been producing good bread and developing in flavour for a number of years.  I renamed Henry, Martha, daughter of Henry, and have been carefully tending her since she arrived. 

Henry arrived safe and sound after a long trip from Victoria.

I read the note that came with him and followed the instructions.  This is Martha, daughter of Henry, after her first feed and in her new container.

Yesterday I made my first loaf using some of Martha - I was aiming for a sandwich loaf similar to the one produced in a bakery near here. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

As soon as I saw the texture of the bread, I knew I hadn't left it rise long enough.  I'll fix that today.  I also cut it the wrong way, again, I'll fix that.  And to be honest, we did eat the bread; the taste was good but the texture was a bit rubbery and dense.  So I'm guessing the starter is giving me the taste we want, I just have to work on my times, and I need to start the loaf earlier than my regular bread.  I also need to read more about hydration rates and I must be more accurate with weights. It's definitely given me a lot to think about, and that's not a bad thing.

I would like to make a loaf like this.  We are having Hanno's 70th birthday next month and I'd like to have a few of these loaves sitting on the table for everyone to enjoy.  I think I'll go back to making the sourdough in my cast iron pot, instead of the regular bread tin for now.  I WILL master this.  Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath.