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Sourdough Improvisation

Today was improvisation day, or I should say yesterday was. I made up a lower hydration batch of sourdough using a little of this and some of that. I also added some more of that malted Rye berries to the dough. I mixed, proofed, formed and set the dough to refrigerate overnight. Today this is what I got:

Malted Berry bread

Malted sourdough

more bread

improvising day

Malted sourdough Ryecloseup

This was mostly a white sourdough with some added Whole Wheat, Rye, and some malted Rye berries. The crumb came out great and the taste is superb with the nice sharp tanginess of spiked (with Rye and W.W.) sourdough and added crunch of malted Rye berries. It is nice to have an improvisation day with no measurements, no weighing and just doing what you want to!

Sourdough Bagels

I’ve been wanting to bake up some sourdough bagels so …. I did. I mixed up the dough which was a stiff dough, using Northwest starter and let it proof:

bagel dough

I made up the bagels using 4 oz of dough for each bagel:

bagels

After they were done proofing, I simmered them in water which had salt and malt syrup added to it. Then I brushed on an egg glaze and sprinkled on a topping of onion flakes, poppy seeds or nothing. Then into the oven and:

bagles

bagels

bagels

This batch made about 28 bagels, and here is a picture of the inside:

inside

You really need sourdough to make a great bagel!

Honey Butter Cornbread….sourdough…really!

I have a special treat this time. I made up a batch of sourdough cornbread. This is what I did:

I started with my mixer and added:

  • 3 cups of sourdough starter (at 166% hydration)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (or buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter which has cooled to lukewarm
  • 3 large eggs (beaten slightly before putting in mixer)
  • 1/4 cup of honey or malt syrup

I mixed these ingredients together just enough to incorporate them. Then in another bowl I mixed these ingredients together:

In a separate bowl add:

  • 2. 5 cups of freshly ground cornmeal
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Stir all of these dry ingredients together with a spoon until well mixed and then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients which are in the mixer. Turn on the mixer and stir just long enough to mix all ingredients together. Then pour out your cornbread batter into a large bundt or cake pan which has been sprayed with pan oil or greased.

batter

The batter came up about 3/4 of the pan sides. I let the batter set for one hour to allow the cornmeal to absorb the liquid. Then I baked the bread in a preheated 400 degree oven for 50 minutes. Here is what came out of the oven:

cornmbread

Yea, I know the pan is crooked, but it is a heavy pan that bakes great!

sourdough cornbread

Here it is cut up:

Yummy!

Closeup:

closeup

This cornbread turned out great and was moist and crumbly. I served it with Poquito Beans which are a great complement to Honey Butter Sourdough Cornbread!

poquito beans

The Poquito Beans are native to Santa Maria California and are a hidden treasure. We get them special ordered from the coast of California in large bags. I come from that area and I make up the beans with my own special recipe which is oohed and aahhed by anyone who tries them.  They have bacon and lots of garlic in them. You have never had a terrific coastal meal until you have had Poquito Beans, fresh baked sourdough and barbequed rib steaks or barbequed fresh tuna. Life is good!

Bakery Sourdough

I was in an in-store bakery in town, and I saw a display of sourdough breads that looked wonderful. I bought a sourdough boule to take home and evaluate. Here are a couple of pictures, one of the outside and one of the inside:

Bakery Bread outside 

Bakery Bread Crumb

Like I said, the bread really looked great. However, once we tried the bread there was disappointment all around. The crust was tough and gummy like a piece of leather. The wonderful looking bubbly crust was a sham, it was a glaze brushed on that blistered. The texture of the crumb was just like a bakery white loaf and was a real disappointment. The flavor was just not there, there was no development of wheat flavor, it tasted just like vinegar. I believe this bread was just a packaged bakery loaf mix that had vinegar added. When you tried to chew the piece of bread, it turned into a gummy ball and was indigestible. I was actually in shock. I had no idea that the bakeries would go to such lengths to make a fake loaf of sourdough, when it is so easy to turn out great sourdough. Their bread was not fermented in any way. No flavor, no aroma, no bite to the crumb. Just plain disappointment. No more bakery bread for me, thankyou, but no thankyou!

Sourdough Basic White Plus …

I started a preferment with for a basic white sourdough the night before baking. Next morning it looked like this:

preferment for a basic white

Instead of just water I used part evaporated milk in the recipe. It makes a more tender crumb and gives you a darker crust. Here are some pictures of the finished loaves:

first loaf

second loaf

all loaves

large holes in crumb

Light Wheat Desem

I’ve  been working with the Desem in new recipes and having absolutely fabulous results. Here is a Desem bread I call Light Wheat Desem and another that I am in the process of working with called Desem Milk ‘N Honey. Here are pictures of the Light Wheat Desem:

This is the overnight preferment:

preferment

Light Wheat Desem

three loaves

Light Desem Crumb

crumb

This turned out to be a really great bread. The preferment had a malted cracked Rye berry in it. The taste was incredible. I am also working on a Medium Desem with a bit more of the whole grain flour in it. I will get back on that one. I might be putting the two recipes in the Special Recipe folder when I get them worked out.

Sourdoughs I've Been Baking

I haven’t been posting as often, but I am still baking often. I usually bake at least two to three times a week. Here are some pictures of some of my baking which I haven’t had time to post about:

Here’s several Basic White pictures:

basic white

Basic WHite Sourdough

More Basic White

Basic White Loaf

Basic White

The recipe for Basic White Sourdough is on my website at:

http://www.northwestsourdough.com/recipes.html

The technique for the same recipe is on the technique page. If you keep working at it until you can bake up a great Basic White Sourdough… then you can bake up just about any sourdough recipe. The Basic White helps you to get the technique and handling down pat.

Rosemary Potato Sourdough

I whipped up a terrific batch of Rosemary Potato Sourdough…YUMMMY!

I started with a preferment the night before.

preferment

I then added the rest of the ingredients in the morning and when I had bulk proofed, I shaped up three loaves:

three loaves

I proofed a couple of hours and baked, this is the first loaf out of the oven:

first loaf

Here are the other two:

next two loaves

Here is a closeup:

closeup

This bread turned out incredible as you can see from the pictures. Here is another picture of the crumb:

crumb

Try it, this is a wonderful sourdough bread.

Find this and many many more sourdough formulas in my four volume e-book, “Discovering Sourdough,” available on Etsy as a downloadble pdf file (printable) or Amazon as a computer or kindle book.

How I do Desem…

I had several emails asking me how I do my Desem bread, technique, recipe etc. So here goes…

I have been keeping an 80% hydration Desem in a bowl in the refrigerator. It has been easier to feed, and easier to use.

80% hydration dough

80% hydration just means approximately twice the amount of flour to water ratio. Like a cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water etc. Or for every five ounces of flour/ four ounces of water. Anyway, I take out one and one half cups of active 80% Desem which was fed the day before and make a preferment the night before I am going to bake. Preferment:

  • 1 – 1/2 cup 80% hydration active Desem starter – 13.5 oz
  • 1 – 1/2 cups water room temperature – 12 oz
  • 3 cups organic Whole Wheat flour aged at least one week 13.5 oz

Desem preferment after mixing:

preferment after mixing

Desem preferment the next morning:

preferment next morning

Mix together the preferment ingredients, cover and let ferment overnight at room temperature. Next morning add the preferment mixture to your dough mixer and add:

  • 2 cups water room temperature – 16 oz
  • Turn the mixer on low and add 6 cups whole wheat flour – 27 oz
  • After the dough is mixed turn off your mixer and let the dough autolyse for ten – 15 minutes.

Desem right after mixing:

desem after mixing

After autolyse, add:

  • 4 teaspoons Kosher salt – .8 oz

turn the mixer on low and let it knead the dough for about 7 minutes. If you notice the dough tearing as it kneads, turn off the mixer no matter how long it has been mixing.

Desem dough after autolyse and 7 minutes of mixing:

Desem dough after kneading

Let the dough proof 4 – 5 hours or when about doubled. Then stir down dough, pour it out and shape loaves.

dough

desem loaves shaped

I made two loaves a little over 2.5 lbs each. I then let the dough proof about 2 – 2.5 hours. When ready bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, slashing and steaming and turning loaf halfway, as usual.( I have been slashing, spraying my loaves once, and then covering the dough with a roasting lid for the first ten minutes, as it is easiest and seems to give great results).

First Desem loaf:

first loaf

Second Desem loaf:

second loaf

Both loaves

Here is the crumb from the first loaf:

crumb

So there you have it, recipe, technique and all !  Once you taste a loaf of Desem, you will go back to baking it over and over, it is that good, and addicting!