New to Sourdough
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
I know that many, many of us have jumped on the bread-making trend of quarantine this year-myself included. I'm on my second sourdough starter-first just didn't work well. I've found a few neat resources and still feed my Sourdough starter every other week whether or not I make anything.
My first sourdough wish was to create an artisan-style sourdough loaf of bread. I wanted a picture-perfect round of bread that could be proudly posted across social media. I'm getting there-but I've had lots of hiccups along the way.
Trial 1: A gooey mess that ended up being poured into a loaf pan and baked-result was a brick-totally inedible. That one went straight to the trash-no photo op.
Trial 2: First pic-ended up really flat and super dense. It felt like a huge hockey puck but looked enticing!
Trial 3: Not pictured. I decided to try a different method. That loaf was placed on a floured kitchen towel to proof. When I tried to put it onto some parchment paper to bake it I realized it had become one with the kitchen towel. The whole thing went to the trash-towel and all. There was no saving that one!
Trial 4: Another fairly dense loaf of bread - but finally something edible! This is when I found out, based on the advice of The Scandi Cook, that I needed to use BREAD flour instead of all purpose flour. I felt so silly to not have thought of that. It wasn't like bread flour was available to me anyway with the current grocery store situation. Oh well... I decided to wait until I could find bread flour to bake bread again.
Trial 5: At this point I had found bread flour. It turned out a tiny bit gummy. I DID exercise all the restraint in the world not to cut into any of these loaves until they were cooled. I knew the problem had to be something else (supposedly cutting into bread before it cools can make it turn out gummy inside). I decided to reduce the amount of whole grain flour the next time to see if that made a difference. This one was good-Especially toasted a little. I ate it - but I still wanted bread with more large bubbles inside...
Trial 6: This one was not-so-cute on the outside but really yummy and had those larger bubbles inside: GOAL! I know it is not perfect - but I was really happy with this one! It was all white bread flour - no whole grain.
This one doesn't count (for Sourdough at least). We went on a weekend trip to the mountains and I forgot my starter - oops! I googled a yeasted bread recipe to try and had VERY good results. If you don't want to hassle with a starter, etc. try this recipe from Karen's Kitchen Stories.
Trial 7: Last loaf I've made-just a few days ago. The texture was great - lots of bubbles inside. I used 3/4 King Arthur white bread flour and 1/4 whole grain hard white flour. When we took the first bites - I had forgotten to add the salt. Sheesh... This is when I was glad we were having it with pasta...just douse it in sauce. Salt really does make all the difference.
I'm not done yet - but happy that I can finally produce a tasty loaf of bread that (when I remember to add the salt) I'm proud of!
I have been using the small loaf recipe (in bubbles) by The Scandi Cook. She also has instructions for creating a starter - everything you need to know to get going. She has so much helpful info on her Instagram account. I HIGHLY recommend her!!
Other than bread - you can make SOO many things with Sourdough starter...again, The Scandi Cook has been my favorite resource.
I did take a helpful class at The Bread Beckers for anyone in the Atlanta area looking to learn more. They focus on whole milled flour - which I found works as about a third or less of the recipe for me (conventional strong white / bread flour for the rest). The classes are inexpensive and include enough tastings for a lunch!