Posts Tagged ‘sourdough’

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sour saga, savory sammiches!

May 13, 2010

I don’t even know where to begin with this story, there are so many ups and down.

Back in September one of the interns at our CSA (who is an amazing baker, but I never caught his name, so I’ll be referring to him as Baker Guy) gave me a piece of his sourdough starter and instructions on how to care for it and use it.  He’d been tending it for several years across multiple countries, and was delighted to share it.  The next week I had to admit to him that I had completely botched the instructions, and it had exploded all over the kitchen counter and hardened into a rock, all within the first 24 hours.  Baker Guy was amused.  He excused himself for a minute, and came back with another jar of starter.  His only request was that the next week I bring him a piece of whatever I baked.  Talk about pressure!  At this point in time I was still only at a 50% success rate with my yeast breads.

The following week I made an adequate loaf, and brought Baker Guy a slice.  He gave it a passing grade and told me to keep up the good work.  I was very worried, as the following week was our wedding (and by “our” I mean mrslovey and I, not Baker Guy) and then we’d be off on our honeymoon.  How the heck would I be able to keep this gift alive and well, so that I could keep baking with it once we returned???  I’m not sure how, but amazingly enough I did it.  The starter positively thrived, and each loaf was better than the last as I tweaked my recipe and gained more skill.  Together, we made it through the craziness of the holidays and my super-frantic year-end rush at work.  We made it through the doldrums of January and February, and the dreary gray of March.

And then, at the end of April, my starter just….stopped.   Read the rest of this entry ?

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the loaf that dare not speak its name

March 17, 2010


In the past week we’ve had another wonderful visit from an old friend, doctor visits, and car troubles.  We’ve also had some delicious food, and a couple of opportunities to bake, both sweets and savory.  Before I get to the newer stuff, however, in my last post I promised that I’d share my sourdough rolls.  To be honest though, I don’t even know if that’s what they are, exactly.  Yes, I’m using sourdough starter, but I’m throwing it into a recipe that normally uses a very young (12-16 hours old) starter, and produces a more traditional Italian loaf.  The use of an older starter gives these a much more pronounced tang than they would normally have.  Plus, I’m shaping them as rolls instead of a loaf (although I’ve done that, too).   So what is it?  Sourdough?  Italian?  Soutalian?  Italerdough?  Rollitalisour?  I don’t know exactly what to call them, but they’re darn good.  I think I’ve decided to keep this highly mutated recipe for rolls, and continue working on a truer sourdough for loaves.

Truthfully, I can’t promise that this recipe will work for anyone else.  I think (in my very limited knowledge on the topic) that so much depends on your particular starter.  I had to do a lot of tweaking with volume and timing to figure out what worked consistently with my starter.  For me, the first key was feeding the starter about 10 hours before I planned on beginning.  In theory, this means that I’d feed it just before bedtime, and start actively working with it after breakfast.  What that really means is that frequently I would end up with no bread when I had hoped for bread, because I don’t have the kind of attention span that lets me plan that far in advance on a regular basis.  On the occasions that I did remember, though, after breakfast I’d pull out 12 ounces of starter from the bucket.  This seemed to be just the right amount to use  in order to get the rise and texture that I was looking for.  Your starter may vary.  I’d be surprised if it didn’t.   Read the rest of this entry ?