...in baking a really fine loaf of sourdough bread.
It isn't a perfect loaf, but it's a vast improvement upon our first two attempts with sourdough, and it tastes really, really good. The crust has a nutty flavor so delicious we can't stop breaking off little bits for "just one more" taste.
The recipe we used calls for a starter at 166% hydration, which is to say: maintained with one part flour, two parts water. We had to figure out how to adjust it for a 100% hydration starter (maintained with equal parts flour and water) because—and I know this is a little silly but we don't care—it is such fun to have a nice thick starter bubbling in the crock a little too vigorously so there's always that danger it will overflow. For the same reason, I don't want to keep the crock in the fridge even though we aren't yet baking enough to justify feeding a starter daily. We don't care. Flour is cheap. We're having fun.
Jane says she still likes baking yeast breads best, because there is so much more kneading. We're going to shoot for one sourdough baking and one yeast bread baking each week. I'm so grateful to JoVE, whose post inspired us to start!
Things we need to figure out:
• The recipe said to proof the dough in a bowl lined with a proofing cloth sprinkled with flour. No problem there, but how do you then transfer the dough to your baking stone without deflating it? Ours was a pretty oozy dough (don't know the right terminology)—not firm like our honey wheat yeast bread dough has been—and by the time I got it onto the stone, it was a big flat blob and I was sure it was going to be a complete flop. It did rise more in the oven, though, so we wound up with a nice big round loaf, a little dense but not a bad texture at all. But still, there has got to be a better way to make the switch. I wish I could watch a real baker do it. I have no technique.
• The slashing! Why can't I get this right? I even got the special bread slashing tool. I'm too timid with my cuts. I don't go deep enough. Again, I think it would help to see someone do it. But I guess I just need to cut deeper, with less hesitation.