Two Night Super Sourdough

I whipped up a batch of Two Night Super Sour Bread using Northwest Sourdough starter. I did a preferment the first night . This is how it looked next morning:

preferment

I then built the dough in stages the next day adding more to the dough and letting it ferment until I was finished at the end of the day (You will be folding and strengthening the dough with each addition). I then poured out the dough and gathered it into a ball:

dough ball

I divided it into three:

three balls

I shaped the dough into boules and placed them in colander baskets which were lined with proofing cloths and a rush basket:

proofing

Into the refrigerator they went for their second night. Then next morning I decided to do something a little different. I heated the oven very hot to 500 degrees and put two of the proofed dough balls onto the baking stone. One I covered with my cast iron pot, which was also preheated in the oven:

baking

I baked the two loaves at 500 degrees for five minutes and then turned the oven down to 425 degrees. I also sprayed the uncovered loaf several times during the first five minutes. After 15 minutes, I uncovered the first loaf, taking off the pot.This is how the loaves looked with another fifteen minutes left to bake:

uncovered the pot

Here are the first two loaves done:

done baking

one loaf

one loaf

Here is loaf number three, I baked this loaf under a pot too:

loaf 3

Here are all three loaves:

all three loaves

Here is a pic of the crumb:

crumb

The bread is delicious and tangy, but not as tangy as usual for this recipe. I am wondering if a proofing box during bulk fermentation would help get a more consistant sour in the sourdough. I have had this same recipe turn out very sour, but it is colder in my pantry where I put the preferment and also cooler in my house than during the earlier months. I have noticed when we are doing alot of baking and the kitchen is very warm, that my loaves turn out more sour. I also feel that if it is too warm during the second proofing, you cannot have it proof as long as you would like. So I am wondering if a warmer bulk fermentation, and a cooler second proofing, would give a more consistant sour. Any ideas?

Oat & Honey Soft Sourdough

I have a new recipe called Oat & Honey Soft Sourdough. It is a one day sourdough that is mixed, proofed and baked in one day. I baked it up in bread pans and freeform Artisan style both and it came out great each way.

I used a vigorous starter and bulk fermented for four hours:

bulk fermented dough

After four hours bulk fermentation, I shaped the loaves, putting two into bread pans and two into banneton baskets:

proofing

I then proofed two more hours :

ready to bake

ready to bake

The dough was ready to bake. I baked the bread in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes turning halfway:

baked

Here is a closeup of the crumb:

crumb

Here are the free form loaves proofed in the banneton baskets:

banneton loaves

banneton loaves

Here are all of the loaves together:

all four loaves

I haven’t sliced a freeform loaf yet to see the crumb, I will post later when I do. The bread came out wonderful, soft, terrific flavor.  The first loaf was sliced and eaten before I could take too many pics of the four loaves together, with my teenagers gobbling as fast as they could. According to them this Oat and Honey Sourdough is “Awesome”.

I will be posting this recipe in the Special Recipes folder for those of you who subscribe to it.

I was able to get some pictures out in the sun! Which is rare here on the Washington coast!

oat bread

crumb

crumb

A Nice Sour Bread

I made up a batch of Sourdough Bread using a new recipe. I also combined a cup of very sour motherdough with the regular Northwest starter, just for flavor because it was alcoholic. The dough bulk fermented well in six hours and looked like this:

bulk fermented dough

I divided the dough into three pieces and shaped them. Each piece was about 2 lbs 2 oz.

three pieces

I put the dough to rest in the banneton baskets and refrigerated the dough overnight:

bannetons

Next morning the dough proofed for two hours and then I slashed the first loaf and popped it into the hot 450 degree oven :

slashed dough

Here is how it came out:

first loaf

Here are the other loaves:

loaf two

loaf 3

Here are all three together:

all three

The bread came out very nice and tangy with a nice crumb:

crumb

crumb

This turned out to be a very nice sourdough and we ate it with ham and cheese for sandwiches. It has been a nice tangy loaf, but not as sour as the Desem bread I was supposed to bake on the same day and didn’t get to until today….gee it knocked my socks off! I did every possible thing wrong with this Desem dough and it still came out pretty good although not as much spring as it should have had. Here it is:

Desem

This dough was supposed to be ready to bake after the other dough was done. I didn’t get it mixed up though, although I had the preferment waiting to go. So I ended up mixing it up later in the day and hoped to get it into the oven…but no…we had to go out…so I just put it into the refrigerator. I took it out this morning and it wasn’t acting too vigorous, so I proofed it for 2 hours and then baked it. Gee it is SOUR!

Rustic Sourdough Biscuits…Yummy!

Sourdough biscuits….Yum! I whipped up a batch of sourdough biscuits this morning that really came out great. Instead of just white flour, I added a small amount of cornmeal and whole wheat to give the biscuits a more rustic flavor. Here they are:

Rustic Sourdough Biscuits

biscuits closeup

Rustic Sourdough Biscuits

In a medium bowl mix:

2 cups vigorous Sourdough Starter

1.5 cups Milk

1/2 cup oil or melted Butter

1 Tablespoon Malt Syrup/or substitute 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

In a medium large bowl mix the dry ingredients:

 4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup Whole Wheat flour

2 Tablespoons of Cornmeal

2 teaspoons Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

4 teaspoons Baking Powder

Stir dry ingredients together and then add the first bowl of wet ingredients to the second bowl of dry ingredients, stir gently with a fork until  a soft sticky dough is formed. Add more all purpose flour if the dough is too sticky. I had to add about another 1/3 of a cup of flour. Pour out on a well floured surface and knead just enough to have the dough gather into a ball and be smooth and pliable. This dough will still be somewhat sticky on the inside, just keep the outside covered with flour as you roll it out and cut biscuits with a biscuit cutter. If the dough is kneaded too much or you add so much flour while kneading that it is no longer sticky inside, it will be a tougher biscuit. So handle the dough gently and quickly and get the cut biscuits onto a baking sheet lightly greased or sprayed with pan spray. Pop the biscuits into a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes. Eat while hot with dripping butter/honey/jam etc. Enjoy!

Experiments with Sourdough Pot Baking

After my Christmas loaves, I made up a batch of Basic White Sourdough and added a 1/4 cup of cracked wheat which had been soaked in hot water instead of the cornmeal. Without the cornmeal, the dough bulk fermented much quicker and I shaped the loaves and put them into small banneton baskets again. This time I made three loaves and they were a bit over 1.5 lbs each.

Here are the loaves in their baskets:

3 loaves

Here is one of the loaves when it was ready to pop into the oven:

proofing done

This dough didn’t take as long to proof as the dough with the added cornmeal. It wasn’t as sour as a result, but a very good loaf in it’s own right. I used a flexible plastic cutting board as a peel to get the dough into the preheated cast iron pot. I then put on the lid without spraying any water as a result of the prior experiment showing that the initial drying of the skin of the loaf created a better outcome with the slashes. It was also true with the pot baked loaves. They came out better without the early spray of water which I was giving the dough just before putting on the lid. Here is one of the loaves still in the pot:

bread in the pot

All of the loaves came out great with very nice crusts:

first loaf

second loaf

third loaf

All three together:

three loaves together

closeup

Here is the crumb:

crumb

It seems that if you spray the dough immediately with pot baking or with stone baking, you don’t have as nice of a blooming of the slashes. It was very interesting finding this out and another one of those instances that make sourdough baking so much fun!

Christmas Gift Sourdough Bread

I made up a batch of Sourdough Bread to give for Christmas presents, except for one which I sliced open. I found out a new trick this time while baking. I stumbled across it quite accidentally, although I do remember thinking about the possibility before.  I’ll start at the beginning. First I mixed up a batch of dough using the Basic White Recipe and added some cornmeal to slow down the fermentation so I could do a second proofing longer. Here are the four loaves of bread shaped and put into small bannetons. The loaves are approximately 1.5 lbs each:

four loaves

The baking stone was very well heated as we were baking in the kitchen all morning and I put the stone in before we started. The dough actually took five hours to proof after being taken out of the overnight refrigeration. I popped one loaf into the oven first and did not spray or pour water into the bowl in the bottom of the oven. I loaded the next loaf and then I sprayed the oven and poured hot water into the bowl of rocks on the bottom of the oven. Halfway through the baking I noticed that the loaf which had gone into the oven first had a beautiful oven bloom and the other loaf was “Ho Hum”. Here are the first two loaves, the first loaf that was loaded is on the right hand side:

first two loaves

I wondered if the extra minute in the hot oven, had set the outside crust enough to allow the interior to bloom better than the second loaf which was sprayed almost immediately. I knew that in the bakery the dough is left out long enough for the skin of the dough to feel dry to the touch and in that way the “grigne” or slash bloomed in the correct way. Maybe leaving the dough in the oven a minute before misting or adding any moisture was a new trick. So for the next two loaves loaded at the same time, I loaded and then waited one minute before misting. That meant the third loaf was in the oven about two minutes and the fourth loaf was exposed to the heat of the oven for one minute. I then misted and poured some hot water into a bowl filled with river rocks which immediately humidified the oven. I misted at intervals for the first five minutes as usual and then baked the rest of the bread as usual. Here are the second two loaves:

next two loaves

As you can see the “grigne” or grin is very well pronounced in these two loaves. Here is another picture, the second two loaves are on the right hand side:

next two loaves again

Here are all four loaves with the first two loaves at the top and the second two at the bottom:

All four loaves

The loaf at the very top was the only one misted immediately upon loading in the oven.

Anyway I am very pleased with the outcome of the loaves and you can bet I will repeat this experiment. If you want a more pronounced “grigne” or slashes, try letting the dough set in the oven for one minute before misting and see if helps your bread look terrific. Here are the loaves altogether in a gift basket:

gift basket

Of course I couldn’t give away all of the loaves without slicing one open to see the crumb, here it is:

crumb

Merry Christmas everyone!

After the Storm Bread

Last Thursday Dec 14 we went through a very strong storm with wind gusts approaching 100 mph. I live on the Washington Coast with the Willapa Bay in my back yard, so we were hit pretty hard. We lost power Thursday night and it didn’t come back on until the following Monday in the late afternoon! Our Artesian well kept pouring out fresh water, so that was nice, as you don’t need a pump to get water from the overflow. Anyway, it would have been a good time to try out camp sourdough, but I didn’t 🙁   We didn’t have any fresh sourdough all that time. However, the last batch I baked up, (a Basic White batch) even though it was stale by then, tasted great thrown on the top of the woodstove and crisped by the hot stovetop and then buttered. As soon as the power came on Monday afternoon, I decided to mix up a batch of sourdough as a preferment so I could bake the next day. I didn’t have time for the long overnight ferment of ripened dough but I sure wanted some fresh sourdough! I decided to mix up a new recipe that had a quick overnight preferment and baked up the next day, and so I made this:

After the Storm Bread:

In the evening I mixed up a preferment in a large bowl containing:

1 cup Northwest Starter

1 cup water

1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour

1/2 cup Rye flour

2 cups Bread flour

I covered this and let it set overnight at room temperature.

This is how it looked next morning:

preferment

Next morning at 6:00 am I poured this preferment into my dough mixer and added:

1 cup scalded 1/2 and 1/2 milk to which 1 cup of cold water was added to cool it off quickly.

2 Tablespoons Oil

7 – 8 cups of Bread flour (adjust for consistancy)

I mixed up the dough and let it rest (autolyse) for 15 minutes and then I added:

5 teaspoons salt

Then I mixed the dough for about three minutes and let it bulk ferment for five hours.

It was an active bubbly dough at five hours ferment:

bulk ferment

After the five hour bulk ferment I had 5 lb 7 oz of dough, enough for two large loaves and one smaller loaf. So just to have some fun, I shaped the smaller loaf into a Baguette shape and the two larger loaves into the Batard style shapes. I proofed them in a couche at room temperature. However disaster struck once again! The power company decided to turn off the power to fix the lines again! This was just at the time when I was about to start preheating my oven for an hour. So, I moved all of the shaped dough onto my covered porch which was registering a 45 degree temperature, lucky me, as I didn’t have any room in the refrigerator to put the dough. The power was off for an hour. So as soon as it came back on, I preheated the oven. When it was hot enough, I baked the Baguette loaf and it came out pretty nice. Then I tried baking one of the Batard loaves but it stuck to the pan as I was trying to pop it onto the stone and then I forgot to turn the oven down after the first five minutes of high heat and spraying. Ill fated loaf! It didn’t come out too good in looks, but it was still a good edible loaf. Then I baked the last loaf with slashes down it’s side intead of on top. Two out of three loaves, not too bad!

Here they are with the ill fated loaf at the top (obviously):

three stormy loaves

Here is an attempt to hide the ill fated loaf:

ill fated loaf hidden

Storm loaf

Here is the crumb of the Ill fated loaf, just to show you that it is still edible! Actually it is delicous!

crumb

With the mix of Whole Wheat and some Rye, it is not a real white crumb but an earthy, rustic loaf, just right for after the storm, and so very satisfying.

Rosemary Calamata Olive Sourdough

I mixed up a preferment for some Rosemary Calamata Olive Sourdough bread. The preferment was really nice and bubbly the next day. Then I added the rest of the ingredients and put the dough into the refrigerator for an overnight rest. proofing

Next morning I baked up the loaves, they weighed 1.5 lbs each:

Rosemary Calamato loaf

This dough was a mixture of Rye, Whole Wheat and Bread flour. It also has Basil in it.

Loaf #2

Here are both loaves together:

Two loaves of Rosemary Calamato bread

This dough was made up using Northwest Sourdough starter.

Here is a picture of the crumb:

crumb with olives

Closeup:

closeup

This bread is superb! The flavor is exceptional! It has a wonderful tang, flavorful olives and a whiff of Rosemary and Basil. I will be putting this recipe in the Special Recipe folder.

Desem…doing good.

My Desem starter is doing really good and performing reliably. I mixed up the preferment yesterday and baked one large loaf today. I had a three pound loaf come out of the batch. I have been having trouble with getting any good pictures inside. When I had some sun outside I did okay, but I guess I need better lighting. I did an experiment a couple of days ago with putting a roasting lid over my bread as it baked, to hold the steam closer to the dough. It was a very interesting experiment, kind of like baking in a pot, but not.

I also got pictures of those loaves but I am disappointed with the quality of the pictures, because you can’t really see what I am trying to show you. The loaves that came out from under the lid, were thin crispy crackly crusted loaves, the one that I didn’t put the lid over, came out looking nicer, but the crust wasn’t as nice. However the crispy crackly loaves, seemed to want to almost tear apart all over the crust and didn’t rise as high as the loaf not baked under the roasting lid. It was an interesting toss up.

Here is the Desem bread from today. It needed a little bit more proofing, but I had to go out and just couldn’t give it the time it needed:

Desem loaf

Desem crumb

As for the experimental loaves baked under the roasting pan lid. I will show you the loaf not baked under the roasting lid first:

experimental loaf

This was a variation of the Basic White Recipe with some Rye, Wheat and added cornmeal. The cornmeal slowed down the proof considerably so I had a five hour final proofing. Anyway, here is the loaf baked under the roasting lid:

under the lid loaf

Here is a closeup of the same loaf:

closeup

You can see the fissures and stretching of the crust. The pictures aren’t good but this happened all over the crust of both loaves baked in this way. Here is the other loaf, it was done as a boule:

boule loaf

This next picture is a bit closer but shows the great color and crispiness of the crust:

crispy crust

Here is the crumb of the regular baked loaf, it had a higher oven spring than the other two loaves:

crumb

Here is the crumb pic of the loaf baked under the roasting lid:

crumb# 2

I’ve got two Rosemary, Calamato Olive loaves to bake tomorrow.

They are setting in the fridge cooling down right now.

Getting the dough into the pot.

I was askd how I got the dough into the hot pot without flattening it. I took the suggestion of SourDom at the Australian forum, he suggested using a flexible plastic mat like those flexible cutting mats to turn the dough onto and then curving up the mat on either side of the dough and sliding it down into the pot gently. It worked really nice.