Category Archives for "Sourdough Baking"

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

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.

Proofing

I mixed up a batch of Basic White sourdough using Northwest Sourdough Starter.

dough

The batch mixed up nicely and I poured out the dough and shaped it into four loaves. Two loaves in the smaller bannetons were one pound loaves and the other two were two pound loaves.

shaped loaves

dough proofing

This batch was done up as a preferment and not an overnight in the refrigerator with the loaves already shaped. Meaning, that I mixed up the final dough on the day of baking, bulk fermented and shaped the loaves, letting them proof all together before baking. When you do this sometimes you have to push the first loaves into the oven a little earlier than you would like, to avoid having the last loaves very overproofed. This is when you can really notice that proofing correctly makes a big difference. The first two smaller loaves were not completely proofed and the color of the crust is not fully developed.

first two loaves

 I even left the second small loaf in longer and at a higher temperature, but it did not color up as nicely as the two last loaves. I will say that the first loaves were close to being proofed, there are no blowouts and the crumb was a nice even, open crumb, but you can tell that the bloom was just not there.

 In the last two loaves, the crumb is wonderfully crisp and the color is fully developed.

third loaf

fourth loaf

The bread tastes better because of it. I just thought it would be interesting to show what even a small amount of proofing difference can do for a loaf of sourdough.

all four

Sour Saga…

What would you do if you had a batch of sourdough ready for the oven, the oven is heated and ready to go, you pop in the first batch and suddenly….the power goes out? I was faced with that scenario yesterday. The night before I started a preferment using:

Sour Saga Loaf:

  • 2 cups Desem or Whole Wheat Starter
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups Bread flour

I mixed together the preferment, covered it and let it set at room temperature overnight.

preferment

Next morning I added:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 5 cups (adjust for the right consistancy) of Bread flour

Makes about 5.4 lbs of dough.

I mixed this altogether in my mixer and let it autolyse (rest) for ten minutes. I then mixed it for 3 minutes. In only four hours it was already bulk fermented:

bulk fermented

We had decided to have hamburgers for dinner and didn’t have any hamburger buns on hand. So I took 3.4 lbs of the dough and made it into sourdough hamburger buns (this was not my intention!) I made two pans worth of buns. Then I took the other approximately 2 lbs of dough and made it into a batard shaped loaf and put it into a banneton to proof. I proofed the buns for 2 hours and then popped the pans into a preheated oven (425 degrees). About a minute later, the power went out! Where we live power goes out fairly frequently. We have high wind storms and live right next to the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay on the Washington Coast. I knew someday the dough would be ready… and the power would go out! We had just had a power outage two nights ago when a drunk from the local bar met with a power pole…grrrr… luckily I wasn’t baking bread then.

Anyway, I told the guys to fire up the barbeque and thought we would try to finish off the buns on the barbeque. I left the buns in the oven which was still pretty hot until they got the barbque hot enough and then they were barbequed! They turned out okay, somewhat too crunchy for hamburger buns, but we survived. Now to figure out what to do with a 2 lb loaf ready to bake and no oven! I was going to try to wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil and barbeque it like in one of my other recipes, but the loaf was just too fat. I remembered that I had a small roasting pan for roasting just a chicken. I went and found it…in the dark with a flashlight… and turned over the dough into the pan. I was glad I had made the dough a lower hydration dough because when I turned it over and it plopped into the roaster, I thought it would deflate, but it did fine.

dough in roaster

Well, we had the hamburgers done and off the grill, and I put the roaster with the loaf onto the barbeque, and shut the lid. About 20 minutes later, the power came back on 🙂

So I turned on the oven which still had heat from the stones, let it heat up for a bit and soon went out to get the roaster. The bread looked far from done, but it was doing okay!

dough partially barbequed

I went ahead and popped the roaster into the oven with the lid off and let it bake until it looked brown enough, and then I turned out the loaf onto the stone and let it continue to bake until it looked finished. It took about 20 more minutes. Here is what came out:

bread done

sour saga bread

The dark spot on the top was from where the dough was touching the roaster lid. The dough  got some great oven (roaster?) rise and it made a nice lofty loaf. Here is the crumb:

crumb

I never got any pictures of the hamburger buns, as they were eaten up fast in the light of kerosene lamps.

 So, what would you have done, if the power went out, right when your dough was proofed and ready to pop into the oven??