Last week’s post chronicled the first part of my sourdough bread trials. Today the story continues…
Experiment loaf number 3 followed a tried and true recipe from King Arthur Flour. I only wanted to make one small change: convert from a two loaf size recipe to one. Easy enough.
Except for one thing.
I got distracted and added twice as much flour as needed during the second step.
At long last I confessed my difficulties to my bread making friend and guru, whom I now refer to as The Bread Doctor. We talked of the bread making process for over an hour. He is far beyond my capabilities and understands the science behind how a good loaf of bread is born.
He asked for step by step information. What flour am I using? How long am I allowing between each step? How hot is the oven? I described my varied efforts.
He diagnosed the problem.
It is the starter.
I have not fed my starter adequately. I starved the poor thing.
Dr. Bread issued a prescription. Give the starter a good meal of pure whole wheat flour and water.
Back to the kitchen with apologies, I ground some hard winter wheat berries so the flour would be fresh and full of nutrients. Add 50 grams of bottled, room temperature water, then add 50 grams of my freshly ground whole wheat flour. After a night on the counter, the starter rewarded me with a bubbly, active existence.
With a bit of trepidation, but full of hope I started another loaf. This doug had a better texture than the previous attempts and produced a beautiful rise. I crossed my fingers and waited for the oven and the stone to thoroughly preheat.
Only one hurdle between me and a nice loaf of sourdough bread. Turning out the loaf from the basket. Sometimes, if the rising basket is not adequately floured, the dough will stick.
One corner stuck and I had to shake it out. Thankfully it did not deflate entirely. 40 minutes later, a beautiful, only slightly flat loaf was ready.
I could not wait for it to cool more than 15 minutes. It was piping hot when sliced. I know it should cool entirely before slicing. But that aroma!
The flavor was deliciously tangy. The crumb was creamy, the crust was chewy.
Thank you Dr. Bread!