Good Rise on Loaf

I tend to let my starter go for a little before I work it back up. This time I was pleasantly surprised when it bounced back after four feedings! And WOW it didn’t just bounce back, it rose to meet the challenge. I baked a loaf yesterday and it came out good. Just a hit of sour but still very dense. It had great rise this time and I’m looking forward to working with this more often.

One thing I noticed about my starter was the longer it sat the more pronounced the vinegar smell. And the bread itself isn’t too sour. It’s got a hint of it that you can feel on the back of the tongue. I wonder if the longer I keep this batch going if the flavor and characteristics will change. I know I pleased as punch that I’ve got a good cold rise starter.

Now that I’ve got a super happy starter I’m going to be looking at the different recipes and trying them out. I’ve been working with the basic flour, water and oil type of recipes and I’m ready to branch out. I want a good crust, fluffy body and it’s got to have taste.

I’m going to record the recipes I’ve used and crossing fingers take pictures for posting. I want to see what my wonderful pet can do.

Building up from Basic Starter…

Found out that the Service Auction has been moved up to Nov 1 instead of the 15th. That’s going to make it tight to keep an active starter going on top of my baseline. I’ve still got to type up my thoughts on sourdough and some instructions on how to keep a wet starter; on the counter and in the fridge.

Anyway I took my backup starter out of the fridge and let it warm up. It was so active that it rose and collapsed while in the fridge. I think it was there about a week already. I had placed it on the bottom shelf so it wouldn’t freeze. I’ve got a mean fridge so much so that my eggs stay frozen. So at noon I took the starter which was about a cup’s worth and added a cup of flour and a half cup of warm water and stirred good. It was the consistency of a very wet dough where the gluten was just starting to form. I left on the counter covered and when I came back, around 5pm it had already rose up and was very airy. One shake and it collapsed. After stirring it, I made my basic starter (1/4 C starter, 1 C flour, & 3/4 C warm water) and used the rest, approx. 1 1/2 C starter to start making the sponge. I added 1 1/2 C flour and 1/2 cup warm water. Consistency was again like a wet dough just forming it’s gluten and starting to peel off the bowl. I’m going to let this rest and rise overnight.

Hopefully, tomorrow morning I’ll have a nice sponge so can I work on a few loaves and maybe a round. I still haven’t found a favored loaf recipe. I’d like to tackle a Whole Wheat loaf as I’ve got about half a bag left.

Sourdough Dreams

Two days ago I had to say goodbye to my favorite pet. It was a very sad day indeed. “Sigh.” Anyway,it’s a good thing that I can clone it and bring it back to life. Muuuu..Hahaha!!! Ahh…. I love sourdough. My counter pet caught an infestation and I had to toss it down the drain. It drives me bananas to see icky living things in my starter that doesn’t belong,

I’m not convinced that it’s just fruit flies so I’m investigating all the other buggies it could be. I think I’m now more paranoid that I ever was before. I’ve got flour bags in the freezer now and I washed out the entire pantry looking for anything that’s not supposed to be there. Other than the constant invasion of ants….everything looks normal. I haven’t seen a fruit fly here in weeks so I just don’t know.

Anyway my backup starter is making me very proud. It still had great vigor and with its first feeding it jumped out of the container. That’s a very good sign. So I starting to feed it and making preparation for thick starter so I can make a batch of Ciabatta. It came out oh so good the last time I made. I’m a convert now. This bread makes the best sandwiches ever and the flavor of the olive oil is so yummy. I’m planning to have a few sourdough loaves ready for the Fall Equinox potluck or a lot of homemade Ciabatta sandwiches. I’d love to try out sourdough bread bowls so I can fill them with my hubby’s wonderful cowboy chile or even one of my quiche mixtures. Hmmm….I am so dreaming Sourdough Dreams.

Prep for baking tomorrow

I’ve been super feeding my starter last week trying to invigorate it. I’ve been following the 1/4/3 ratio (1 part starter/4 parts flour/3 parts water) and feeding twice in 24 hours. It’s a very nice an bubbly. I’ve been saving the discarded starter which has gotten nice and sour and I think I’m going to make another batch of plain sourdough loaves and a few of the Raisin Breakfast bread. Maybe some free form loaves too. I don’t know. There’s a lot of starter to deal with.

Here’s to some Happy baking!!

Restarting the starter

After a shitty summer last year I stopped working with my starters. It’s easy to get discouraged. it’s not easy to trudge on with problem after problem. After the invasion of the little white fucking flies I decided that I needed a new container for the starter. Those buggers can ruin a starter in no time flat and they managed to kill a started I had going for over a year. Damn lids. It’s the lid that causes a great deal of grief. Too tight and it will blow off. Yup I found that out the hard way. Too loose and those fruit flies will get in and ruin it. I’ll save you all from describing just how ruined it was. Trust me, no way was I keeping that.

Anyway, I finely found a container last month. It’s a stoneware crock. It looks just like a bean pot that can be tossed in the oven and it can. It’s oven proof, microwave proof and dishwasher poof. So far I’m in love!! lol My starter has already taken off in two days and now I’m baking bread again. Hmmm bread.

This morning its the yeast activity test. Basically its Raisin Bread with a sourdough sponge base.
Hmm….but it’s taken a bit longer this morning to bake.

Sourdough Links

Richard Packham’s Sourdough Pages
Page 1 Page 2

His site is good for starting out. The recipes are excellent. But due to his heavy site traffic it’s sometimes down for the rest of the month. Try to find his mirror sites. He has a few.

Sourdough Home
Index Starter Recipes

This site is one of the best. Good for those familiar with yeast baking. Great recipes. Although they discourage making your starter from scratch, they do offer some decent advice on how to go about it and how to obtain a live starter. There is a lot at this site. Do take a look at the Sourdough Myths page and all the rest.

Sourdough Baking The Basics by S. John Ross

Index

I just love the straight forward way this site is written. Very simple and very down to home. It really is about the basics. It’s a great site to get started with but not for finding answers to pesky questions.

Bread and Sourdough
Index

This site is for advanced bakers. It scientifically minded and yet has hard to navigate rambling pages of a personal sourdough investigation project. It is well worth the effort to discover what more can be learned about sourdough.

Carl Griffith’s Sourdough Page
Index

Need a starter? Well, you can ask Carl, really the friends of Carl. This is a non profit site that provides dry starters for the asking with pre-paid and stamped envelope of course. I’ve never tried it myself but there are plenty on the net that just raves about this starter.

Squidoo’s How to Make a Sourdough Starter
Index

A good basic starter site with pictures of the different stages of sourdough growth. Definitely from a traditional perspective in building starters. Well worth it for the pictures and descriptions.

Success

Success!! At last!!

My sourdough has finely worked out. I kept my batch alive and strong enough to use it for the first time. It was only a six day old starter that I used. Yah!

I’m so happy that I could dance. I still have issues that I need to work out, like why does the dough dry out so much. And how much should I let it rise and for how long. I even found a great site that has some amazing recipes. This site- click here.
I’ve already got another batch rising. I made it a little wetter this time trying to compensate for the longer rise time. I hope that it balances out in the end.

I’m going to be working on the loaf pan instead of free form loaf. Eventually I will get good enough to do a free form loaf eventually but the last one I tried had a thick crust once baked. Maybe I’m looking for something that sourdough can’t do. lol I really don’t believe that.

Sourdough can do anything. So here’s a pic of my hard work.

My round loaf ::: close up of the grain ::: loaf before baking