Haven’t been posting for a while. I became a grandma for the first time last week and I was the labor coach! I held my new grandson within minutes of his birth!
As far as sourdough goes, I have been using my new Blendtec mixer, and I like it better…way better than the old K-tec. I was hesitant to buy a new one because I very much loved having the tough but flexible bowl and in the pictures of the new one, it looked stiff not flexible. However it is flexible and just as nice, even nicer than the older model with lots of great new features. It has an auto knead which is good for bread dough, but not for sourdough, as it auto detects when the gluten is fully developed, and as you experts out there on sourdough know, sourdough is ruined by that time! Not to worry, it also has manual speed and a timer which is a great feature. YOu set the timer and then set the speed and it will count down to the second and turn off. Anyway, I am liking it lots! Here is a pic of it :
You can see one online at Blendtec.
As for sourdough baking. I have been working with a new starter from Austria and it has a tale to tell. I had it for sometime and finally brought it out to try. For the first three days….peeewwwwww!!! It stunk bad! I went ahead and tested it to see how long it took to proof because it didn’t seem to be doing anything. So on the fourth day, I mixed up a batch of starter at 100% hydration and it just sat there all day doing nothing…nothing! So I waited another day and it actually started smelling pretty good. I mixed up a batch of 80% hydration dough and it took 25 hours but it more than tripled in size in the jar!
I made up a batch of bread and let it proof over two nights and one day and then let it warm up the final morning and bake. The loaves turned out terrific! You would have thought the dough would have turned a ghostly white from fermenting for so long but the color was terrific. I can’t seem to find pictures of them so I don’t know if I actually took any. The reason for the long ferment(and maybe no pictures) was that was the day the baby came and I couldn’t get to the bread until the following day. Anyway, that bread was quickly gone as the lady next door has been twisting my arm for some bread and insists on paying me for at least a loaf per week(don’t tell my other neighbors as I have turned down offers all over the neighborhood for selling bread) and if word gets out….I will be forced to open a bakery! Anyway, onto the story… my husband commented that I should do another test of the starter as it was performing better and smelling great…so I did another test and this time it doubled in five hours, more like a regular starter. So I will test it once again after it has been brewing for at least two plus weeks and see how it performs.
The moral of the story is, don’t despair if your reconstituted starter takes a bit of time to come up to snuff, or smells rotten at first, or won’t raise a good loaf of bread right away. Give it some time and feeding. A two week reconstituted starter will perform differently than a one week starter. Patience is the name of the game for sourdough for sure, no patience, no great bread!
Onto the interesting stuff. I baked another batch of Austrian bread because I am putting together a sourdough premix and needed to test ratios and weigh everything. The idea behind this is to have a premix which you can just pour into the mixer without having to weigh anything. You must have a good fermenting starter already going, and some good water, then add the premix and you should be able to bake up two nice sized loaves of bread from that one batch. I am hoping to add it to the baking kit available on the store page of my site. So the first batch I made up needed a hydration change and I ended up making three loaves instead of two. Here is how the Austrian sourdough turned out:
The week before, I was working on a batch of San Francisco Sourdough with the same premix in mind and I ended up with this:
I was hoping to have the premix for those who have worked hard at getting a good sourdough loaf to turn out and just can’t figure out if it is the flour or what that keeps them from getting a great loaf. I know this flour mix combination works as it is just a variation of what I do for regular basic white and is my main recipe for my basic sourdough which I bake several times a week.
This little bun was in the oven eleven days too long: