Becoming a Better Baker – Part II – Sourdough Bread Making for Doughvember

Again,  I fed my starter, and in two days I had enough to forge ahead and try to make more sourdough bread using this recipe from Nicole, Pinch My Salt….with modifications.   I also wanted to make just one loaf (I was running out of flour)!  Yes, I know, baking can’t/shouldn’t be approached the same way as cooking…if you add an extra carrot to your stew, you haven’t ruined it, you just have more carrots in it, but, if you add ingredients on a whim in baking, you can be in real trouble.

That said, I decided that one of my problems in Part I was too much flour…I figured, if the dough wasn’t sticky it probably meant too much flour was added…so, this time around I added 1 cup of starter, but only 1 1/2 cups of flour and 3/4 cups of water to make the sponge.  Then, after the sponge was active, I only added enough flour till it “felt right”.  How did I know this when I don’t bake bread?  I didn’t…but I had watched my aunt make bread many times and I just went by how it looked….I know, not good science for bread making, but she never really measured everything precisely either.

After I added the additional flour to the sponge (about 1 cup and I only used 1/2 teaspoon salt)  I started to knead it…really knead it this time, and I watched a U-Tube video and tried my best to match what they did.  Once again, I nestled it onto an oiled bowl and covered it with a damp towel, but sadly, again the dough didn’t rise very much, but after 2 hours I decided to knead it again and form it into a loaf to rise one last time.

I knead, I shape, and I place it in it’s cozy warm spot…but,  it’s getting late and I need to bake this before I go to bed.  So, after an hour of rest and not very much of a rise,  into the oven it goes.

Result:  It came out more brown and bigger….hooray!  We eat it the next day and it’s a bit dense and the holes are uneven, but the flavor is good, not too sour, and it’s crusty and brown.  I’m now thinking that it’s a kneading issue and that next time (oh no, Doughvember is almost over) I should use the Kitchen Aid with the dough hook. So, I’m not giving up…I fed the starter again today…maybe I’ll get this right by next Doughvember!


7 Responses to “Becoming a Better Baker – Part II – Sourdough Bread Making for Doughvember”

  1. 1

    Kate — Saturday, December 3, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    I can’t guarantee your results, but one of the things I stopped doing to yeast breads (haven’t tried sourdough) was to stop kneading them to death….This goes against everything I read everywhere (and may very well not work for anyone else!). When I just knead enough to make my dough smooth, it rises quickly (assuming I’ve started everything right….warm water or milk, room-temperature ingredients, etc.). I also skip a “second rising” (in the bowl–something my grandma’s old Betty Crocker cookbook recommended); let it rise as a loaf the second time (in a pan); and pop it in the oven when it’s ready.

    My son is now making “no-knead bread” from a recipe on the internet and he swears that it tastes better than the bread my mom and I used to make. (I find that hard to believe, so when I visit him over Christmas, I’m going to make him bake me some!)

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