July 28, 2011

Bernard Clayton's Hearty White Bread, Less Hearty

I thought I had wheat germ in my freezer, but it must have been tossed in my biannual freezer clean up.  So I guess it's just a little less hearty than it should be. Oh, well.

July 25, 2011

Sourdough Starter - Day Four of the White Starter

Sourdough Starter - Day Four of the White Starter
7/25/2011 3:38pm

I didn't post Day Three of the new whole wheat flour/pineapple juice starter, it was just more feeding. TODAY was the big day!

July 24, 2011

Making Your Sourdough More Sour

Making Your Sourdough More Sour

My sourdough bread is sour, but not tangy enough in my opinion. My family, who doesn't like sourdough, thinks it's fine but I want more!

In an online search, I found this fantastic post by "JMonkey" on how to make your sourdough starter more sour. As it is the best explanation I have found so far, including explanations of starter hydrations, I am copying it here. All the credit for text and photos goes to  "JMonkey" over at "The Fresh Loaf". I urge you to check out the original post as there are comments posted below that are also very informative!

I have posted the information on my "Troubleshooting Bread Dough" page.

July 23, 2011

Sourdough Starter - Day Two Of New Seed Culture

Sourdough Starter - Day Two Of New Seed Culture
7/23/2011 2:47pm

I've been reading a lot more about sourdough starters (see, I called it a "culture"! Ha! Nothing gets by me. :)) and they way they work.

July 22, 2011

Starting A New Sourdough Starter

Starting A New Sourdough Starter

George is doing wonderfully sitting in my fridge, percolating happily away on his flour and water. I want, though, to have a white starter to use in my bread baking.

I took out from my freezer some of the rye starter I had made, hoping to turn it into a white starter. Maybe I'm too impatient but all I got after two feedings was some liquid on top of the batter and no activity at all.

So I'm going to start Peter Reinhart's sourdough culture using pineapple juice.

I have it in a copy of his Whole Grain Breads, but I found a better explanation of how to start the starter as whole wheat and turn it into a white starter over at "The Fresh Loaf".

I am cutting and pasting the post by "SourdoLady" here so I can reference it later, all credit to her and Peter Reinhart.

July 21, 2011

River Cottage Sourdough - My First Sourdough

I'm the first one to admit I should have waited a few more days to use the sourdough starter I created last week, but it looked so good, and seemed really active with a nice apple-y vinegar smell that I just couldn't wait.

I should have waited.

Sourdough Starter - Day 6: I Couldn't Wait.

Sourdough Starter - Day 6: I Couldn't Wait.
7/21/2011 3:50pm

Well, despite George being underage, I couldn't wait to make bread with him. He'll probably be better in a few weeks, but he smelled too good and was very active. Unfortunately, he wasn't active enough at the time to give my loaves a good "spring". As the loaves are still baking I can't vouch for the taste, but they smell delicious.

After removing the required starter last night to make the sponge for the bread, I fed the starter 1 cup dark rye and 1 cup water, then stuck him in the fridge. He's got a little bit of life showing, but I want to slow him down as I cannot bake with him every day.

As I want to get a white starter working, I took some of Georges frozen remains out to defrost to turn into a white flour sourdough starter. Named it "Lucy".

Sourdough page.

July 20, 2011

Tassajara Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

"George" is still too young to make bread with, it seems starters need to be more than a week old to have any effect and flavour. So I went with good old Tassajara for yesterday's loaf.

Sourdough Starter - Day 5: Who's A Lovely Starter? Who?

Sourdough Starter - Day 5: Who's A Lovely Starter? Who?
7/20/2011 8:30am

This morning, George was all frothy and lovely on top, a pleasant slightly sour aroma emanating from his container. My husband, however, refused to sniff him! He had also risen quite a bit, so it looks like he should be ready to use in about 4 days.

At 8am, I removed 1 cup of  batter, froze it for future use - I'd like to get a white flour starter going form the discarded bits of rye starter. Fed him with 1 cup dark rye flour and 1 cup cold water.

At this point I'm not sure if I should feed him twice a day or just the one time. The River Cottage Bread Handbook doesn't mention more than one daily feeding, but Jeffery Hamalman in Bread does mention to feed twice as does Susan over at "Wild Yeast" in her fabulous sourdough tutorial.

I'll feed him once a day for now and watch the activity. If it slows down then I'll feed him twice a day.

He should be ripe enough to use on Day 9, barring anything terrible I do to him between now and then.

George's personal blog page.

July 19, 2011

Sourdough Starter - Day 4: Divide, Freeze and Feed

Sourdough Starter - Day 4:  Divide, Freeze and Feed

7/19/2011 9:30am

This morning George had a nice applely vinegar smell with no trace of the stinkiness that I had at the beginning, but the sheer volume of him was overwhelming- 5 cups of sourdough culture!

So I beat him for a minute, got out a clean food storage container and poured 3 cups of him into it. I covered it, labelled it and put the container into a freezer bag, sticking it into the very bottom of my chest deep freezer in the basement. Realizing that I still had 2 cups to care for, I took a smaller container out of my cupboard and did the same thing. I love those Ziploc Twist 'n Loc containers, they work beautifully for this kind of thing.

I fed the remainder 1 cup of cold bottled water and 1 cup of rye flour. Hopefully I haven't hurt my starter by removing so much and replacing with so little, but I don't think it would be long term damage.

George has his own page on the blog, here.

July 18, 2011

Sourdough Starter - Day 3: What the Heck is That Smell??

Sourdough Starter - Day 3: What the Heck is That Smell??
7/18/2011 7:43am

Actually most of the work was last night.

At 8pm last evening, noticing how vigorously active the starter was, to the point where I feared it would escape from it's large container overnight, I removed the cover to beat it down (anyone who has seen the kitchen scene in Woody Allen's "Sleeper" will get the idea).

The smell coming from the starter was similar to that of an open sewer, which I don't think is the smell we're going for. I've used clean equipment, the flour coming from a bulk food store. Maybe the flour was contaminated, but I decided to divide it and refresh a little earlier than Day 3.

I removed half the mixture- maybe slightly more than half- and refreshed with 1/2 cup COLD bottled water and 1/2 COLD dark rye flour.

I decided to use smaller amounts as I had no idea how much flour this would wind up using in the long run.

I again beat the mixture for a minute or two, and then sprinkled some rye flour over the top of the starter as suggested in Jeffery Hamalman's Bread.

I also put it into a cooler part of my house, not my kitchen, to let it rest overnight. This morning it has a milder, more vinegary smell rather than a sewage smell.

If it continues to smell like sewage, I'll discard George and start again.

7/18/2011 11:30am

Divided again, tipping out 1 cup of the starter and refreshing it with 3/4 COLD water and 3/4 COLD dark rye flour. I may have to switch to whole wheat as I'm running out of rye flour.

As I stirred it before removing the 1 cup there was a faint sewage smell again, but I think as I'm removing the original Mother starter (or Father as he's male :) ) the smell will be removed. It had a mild vinegary smell before I stirred it up, so I have hope.

Tomorrow at feeding time I may remove George from his container, wash the container and return him, just to make sure the container is fresh and clean.

7/18/2011 4:30pm

Fed George 1 cup cold water and 1 cup dark rye flour. He smells like vinegary apples. :)

Sourdough Starter page is here.

July 17, 2011

Sourdough Starter - Day 2: First Feed

Before first feed
Sourdough Starter - Day 2: First Feed
7/17/2011  8:39am

Checked on George this morning, found many bubbles and some doubling!

There are mini bubbles inside the "batter" that can be seen through the plastic of the container, so he seems to be happy.

Smells a little musty, but then again so does the flour before I used it.

Added 1 cup dark rye flour and 1 cup water, beating for a few more minutes.

Sourdough starter has it's own page here.

7/17/2011 1:03pm

Bubbles have appeared inside the batter, again visible from the side. This is so exciting, kind of like having a 5th kid. :)

View of the side of the container, showing the bubbles inside the starter. Four hours after first feeding.

7/17/2011 3:30pm

George had fully doubled in size, a lot of fermentation activity!

Opened up the container and smelled the batter. Ew. Smelled rather like garbage, so I gave the batter a swift beating for about a minute. Smelled much better, so I'm thinking it was maybe carbon dioxide from the fermenting yeast.

July 16, 2011

River Cottage Basic Bread - Simple White Loaf

While on a vacation two weeks ago, I discovered a copy of The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens in Barnes & Noble. It has rapidly become one of my favourite books, on par with The Tassajara Bread Book.

Sourdough Starter - Day 1: Conception

While on a vacation two weeks ago, I discovered a copy of The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens. It's an amazing book, very much like The Tassajara Bread Book both in it's informal approach to breadmaking, and with it's "hand holding" steps. The instructions on how to make and feed a sourdough starter seemed so simple that I thought even I could do it.

I have been wanting to make a sourdough starter for a while, but it seemed a bit complicated. Now I'm giving it a shot. I'll be documenting the life of the starter on the blog, and mirroring the posts on it's own page here.

Sourdough Starter - Day 1: Conception
7/16/2011 - 2pm EST

Step 1: Found a large container with a lid, big enough for the starter to double 4 times.

Step 2: Cleaned it.

Step 3: Mixed 1 cup whole grain flour (whole wheat, rye, spelt) with 1 cup warm water. I used dark rye flour and bottled water. Added more water to get a thick batter.

Step 4: Beat the batter for a few minutes (10 minutes in a stand mixer is optimal) - the more it's beaten, the more yeast spores get into the starter and the better it is.

Step 5: Put it into the large container and put the lid on top.

Step 6: Named starter "George", going on the theory of I can't kill what I named.

Step 7: Labelled the top of the container "Day 1: 7/16/11" so I can keep track of when I have to feed it.

Step 8: Put in a warm place in the kitchen where I can see it but it's out of the way.

This is as far as I have gotten. We'll see how it turns out..


7/16/2011 4:35 pm
The first 3 bubbles appear! It's ALIVE!

July 14, 2011

Unintended Hiatus Over

I would like to apologize for the unintended month long hiatus this blog has taken.

I didn't realize how busy I would be at the end of the school year, then I had a relapse of strep throat that was worse than the previous month's bout, THEN we left for a two week vacation to Florida.

I meant to stop in during this time and post, but I was just wiped out.

On the positive side, I bought three new bread books while in Florida:
  • Whole Grain Breads by Peter Rienhardt
  • Bread by Jeffery Hamelman
  • The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens
I can't wait to try some new recipes!