Friday, May 15, 2009

The Art of Loafing: A Sourdough Tale

One of my other new fascinations is bread making. I received a sourdough culture from my dear friend and have been playing with the art for the first time. And it is an art, I assure you. In previous years, I’ve not had the best luck with yeast breads, so this is a leap of faith and determination. MiLady Carol: Bread Warrior. Rar.

I have decided to stick with a basic French bread, nothing fancy, until I understand what I’m doing. I don’t want to complicate matters with heavier grains, herbs and nuts – though that’s the goal. My first attempt saw a great rise and made a lovely interior bread, yet the crust was far too hard. I chalk that up to me following the baking time on the recipe and my oven having a vastly different notion.

My second attempt saw a much better exterior crust – I do sometimes learn lessons – yet, the interior was rather dense. This, I surmise, was a direct reflection of the lack of the dough’s enthusiasm in rising. I noticed the proofing didn’t really show a pronounced effort to froth, yet I hated to waste all that flour, so I forged ahead to rather lackluster results. It was still yummy, yet the slices needed to be quite thin -- did I mention it was a dense bread?

I also have noticed that both times, when I free-formed the French loaf, the dough spread out as much or (as in the second case) more than up when it rose. I’m not sure if this means I need more flour in my mix. Maybe. All these recipes say the texture of the perfect dough should be “satiny.” Well. I guess a satiny texture is in the eye of the beholder, for I’ve not noticed anything I would describe as such in what I’ve made to date. Perhaps with more experience…

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!

1 comment:

  1. lately my breads that havent been in loaf pans are doing the spread. i think it means it's still slightly too gloopy and not firm enough. althogugh simply having ot be sourdough seems to make it more gloopy to me. i never had any trouble making french bread with the granular yeast but it's different for the starter. I often have to remind myself if i am switching a plain recipe to sourdough that i might need a cup or more extra flour to get it to the properly stiff stage.