Well, I had a very intense week last week. On June 23 we celebrated the wedding of our eldest daughter. During the reception, my sister and I had to take our 71 year old mother to the emergency room of the hospital. She had travelled from central California which was a two day drive and had not fared well on the long trip. She has recurrent pleural effusion and was in a lot of pain. We ended up having to leave by Monday to take her home. I stayed two days in California and was able to get a hold of some La Brea Sourdough and some San Luis Sourdough while I was there. I tried to get some Boudin Sourdough from San Francisco but it was too far out of our way… too bad!!
There were nine people at my mom’s house and I gave them all a taste test of the two sourdoughs and asked them to compare. I actually had three loaves of bread. There was a loaf of Rosemary Olive bread baked by La Brea also, but we left it out of the taste test because it was a bit too stale to compete.
Here are some pictures of the San Luis Sourdough:
The San Luis Sourdough was a nice chewy loaf of sourdough. It was made with real sourdough culture and no commercial yeast added. The crust had a glaze and was chewy and thick. It had a great sharp sour. However the crumb was somewhat crumbly, dry with a marginal open texture.
The Ingredients are:
Bleached Flour, Water, Sourdough Starter, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour. It was a 1.5 lb loaf.
Here are the pictures of the La Brea Loaf of Country White Sourdough:
The La Brea Country Sourdough says right on it that is supposed to be mildly sour, it was. However the crust had a slight crunch and the crumb was terrific. It was chewy, soft, springy and had a great chew satisfaction.
The Ingredients are:
Unbleached Flour, Water, Sourdough Starter, Salt, Wheat Germ, Semolina. It was a 14.5 oz loaf.
Here are the pictures of the Rosemary Olive Sourdough:
As stated above, the bread was too stale to compete. I thought you would like to see it though.
Here are all three loaves together:
The Rosemary Olive Loaf is on the left, the Country White is in the middle, and the San Luis Sourdough is on the right.
Now for the results of the taste test:
Seven people liked the La Brea Country White the best. Two people liked the San Luis Sourdough best. I liked the La Brea Country White the best of the two, however, the San Luis sourdough made a better toast. The flavor of the San Luis was better to me, but I like sour bread. The all around appeal and chewy crumb of the La Brea gave it the winning edge and most people agreed it was the winner.
When I got back home, the local Safeway market had put out a line of Artisan bread that really looked great so I bought two loaves to compare them to the bread I had bought in California. I bought a Pugliese Loaf and a Renaissance Grain Bread.
Here are the pictures of the Pugliese Loaf:
Here are the pictures of the Renaissance Grain Bread:
Both breads scored very high marks for crust and crumb texture. The Pugliese, as you can see in the crumb picture has a terrific open crumb. The Renaissance Grain bread has a great texture for a whole grain type of bread and the crust had a nice slight crunch to it. However, I would say that the Pugliese missed totally on the flavor. There was no development of grain flavor, no bursting out of the wheaty flavor at all. I looked on the package for the ingredients and saw it was just a commercial yeast bread. I really felt that the bread was such a disappointment after how beautiful it looked. Still it was better than most regular bakery loaves. The label “Artisan Bread” can certainly be deceiving if you think it means a sourdough.
The Renaissance Grain Bread also was missing the burst of grain flavor development that comes with the fermenting of the dough and also was just a commercial yeast bread. However it had some whole grains and seeds to at least give it an interesting flavor whereas the Pugliese had almost no flavor at all.
I certainly had an interesting week. Mom is resting comfortably at home and is getting medical care. I am hoping to get some Boudin Sourdough to put on the blog in the future, I hope you found the taste testing interesting, it was a lot of fun for me.