Sunday, August 10, 2008

Making Sourdough Bricks

I'm trying to learn how to make sourdough bread. I ordered some sourdough starter a couple of weeks back and attempted my first loaf last week.

The starter was rye sourdough starter but the instructions said you could use any flour when making bread. Rye was okay with me as we like rye bread a lot. Even though I know that rye flour contains very little gluten and doesn't rise well without the incorporation of at least some white flour, I went ahead and used all rye flour. Again, the instructions said that would be okay. (Why do I believe things just because someone writes them down and prints them out?) I even ground a batch of rye grains up so the flour would be fresh and "live."

Go ahead and chuckle if you must. This is what my first loaf of sourdough bread looked like. Yeah, quite brick-like, I would say. Roy is eating it and says the flavor is good (bless his little heart), but I think he's just desperate for homemade bread as I haven't been giving top priority to bread baking this summer.

Last night, I "refreshed the sourdough" culture -- must be done weekly -- so all was ready for another go at it this morning. Decided until I got the hang of this sourdough thing, I would use 3/4 spelt flour and 1/4 unbleached white. Spelt is an old, old variety of wheat which hasn't been as modified and/or corrupted over the years as much as most wheat has so I thought that would give us some nice spelt (whole wheat) sourdough bread.

And here is today's loaf. Gee, looks like I can not only make Rye Sourdough Bricks but now I've added Spelt Sourdough Bricks to my repertoire. Oh, my. I had to let it rise 5 hours in the bowl before it looked like it had risen even a little bit (certainly not double in size as the recipe suggested) and then 4 more hours in the loaf pan to get it to barely reach the top of the pan. (Good thing I started early this morning, huh?) Wonder what I'm doing wrong? I know I had it in a warm enough place for rising to take place. Roy has been kind enough to suggest the starter I got isn't good. Wonder how many more times I should try this before giving up?

I really do know how to bake bread. Just apparently not sourdough bread. Oh, well. Cement slabs, anyone?

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