So I missed the DB challenge in December. All the Christmas and New Year preparations (along with all the pre-christmas deadlines at work) ensured that I was unable to get a sourdough starter ready in time.
In fact, I didn’t even get it done in December. I had to get to January to be able to finally make it.
And I’m glad I have. Honestly, these Daring Bakers challenges – one month they are great, the next they’re just rubs. This was an awesome month. I’ve wanted to make sourdough for quite a while, but always thought that it would imply baking bread way more often than I was willing to. Not to mention how long it takes to get everything ready, even if your starter is all set to go.
Making bread using this technique is a time-consuming task. From start to finish, this challenge took me 6 days. 4 days to create the starter, one day to let the bread rise and bake it, one day to rest it. Yes this is true dedication to the power of natural yeasts. Was it worth it? You bet, buster! I now have a rye sourdough starter that I have to feed only once a month and a lovely rye loaf that will bring me plenty of pastrami on rye joy.
It’s a long blurb from the DBs this month:
Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create Sour Dough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with Sour Dough recipes from Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley as well as delicious recipes to use our Sour Dough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen’s Great British Food!
So I guess I made half the challenge – I didn’t cook anything with my sourdough loaf. Hey, the challenge is baking, isn’t it? Baking. I baked. I baked therefore I comply. Descartes would totally back me up on this.
Unless you count sandwiches. I have so far made a number of very delicious sandwiches that I have been enjoying as breakfast and packed lunch. A. doesn’t like the bread, so all the more for me… and yes that will not stop me from making more soon.
This post is getting a bit strange, so I’ll try to rein it back in by making a step by step commentary of my findings re: sourdough:
1. at first making the sourdough starter is boring as. Nothing seems to be happening other than it getting a little stinky.
2. when you prepare the actual loaf starter by adding more flour and water to part of the sourdough starter (I am going to use the word ‘starter’ a lot in the next few paragraphs so bear with me) it starts to get interesting.
3. the loaf starter gets bubbles.
4. the mixture is too wet to knead. Also the recipe does not tell you to knead at all. I found this pretty weird and borderline unbelievable, so decided that I would knead mine. The result was a very dirty worktop and a dough as runny as before.
5. I let my dough rise for well over 8 hours – more like 24. First I put it in the oven after we had cooked dinner (the oven was cooling down so it wasn’t a very warm temperature) and it rose a little. Then, because I do have a day job, I put it in the fridge covered with a plastic bag (I really need to find an alternative for this as I hate hate hate plastic bags) and hoped for the best.
6. I didn’t really expect the sourdough to rise much in the fridge because of the temperature. I was wrong. Sourdough is badass.
7. I baked it for about an hour, and the top didn’t look very appealing. The sides and bottom looked amazing, but the top is a bit anaemic. I am hoping to improve on this.
8. I love sourdough.
So it was a really good way to enter the new year in DB. I am looking forward to more fun projects like this. Also, I can’t wait to make some tweaks to the recipe and adapt it to my oven and lifestyle. And I know it’s supposed to be a secret, but I expect great things from this month’s – already!
Rye Sourdough Loaf – Recipe in the Daring Bakers website – and check out the other bakers’ loaves (that sounds a bit dirty).