Today I decided to try making a loaf of sourdough bread. The other day my neighbor gave me the starter. The recipe I used called for one cup of sourdough starter. I didn't have that much, so I used five cups of flour instead of six.
It was easy to make. I used a 1930's recipe from one of my mom's old cookbooks. It called for flour, yeast, water, butter, salt, and baking soda. I blended the ingredients with an electric mixer, and scraped the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
I really enjoyed the rhythm of kneading the bread. I worked it with my hands for eight minutes on the counter. It felt very meditative and relaxing. Baking bread is so grounding. It always reminds me of how our ancestors lived. Baking bread was a ritual in those days.
The dough was extremely elastic. I covered it in the bowl, and put it in the oven on a very low temperature. I didn't think that my kitchen was warm enough for the bread to rise.
After punching it down, I separated it into two sections, and let them rest. After ten minutes, I rolled them into balls and tucked the ends underneath the bottom. I flattened one to six inches in diameter, slashed it with a sharp knife, and let it rise again. I put the second one in the fridge for future use.
The finished loaf looks very pretty. I baked it with a small pan of water in the oven, since my oven tends to dry things out that need to be moist. I have a 1950's vintage O'Keefe and Merritt.
|This is some sock yarn that was given to me by a local knitter. She's had it since the 1980's. I love the colors.|
The bread tasted okay, but was nothing special. It just kind of reminded me of store bought white bread that had been sweetened. The sourdough flavor was barely there. It's still good, though. I toasted some with Tillamook cheese, and that really improved it. It will make excellent breadcrumbs for casseroles, and I think it will make a tasty bacon and cheese sandwich, or as a side with a salad. The dressing would give it more flavor.
To be honest, I think I really prefer The New York Times No Knead Bread recipe. It makes such a delicious, chewy, Artisan loaf. I have used apple cider in that recipe to give it a slight sourdough flavor. I love the moistness of it. The dough is very sticky to work with, but the end result is divine. This was just okay. Oh well. Maybe I'm too picky; at least now I know. I don't think it's really worth the effort, especially if you are spending all of that time making the starter, but maybe I'm missing something. I guess my expectations were too high. I grew devouring round loaves of Columbo extra sour sourdough bread from San Francisco. It was baked and delivered to the supermarkets daily, and boy was it incredible! Mine didn't come close, but I will eat it. Next time I may try using some semolina flour that I have in my cupboard.
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