Thursday, July 23, 2020

So...How You Doin'?

The sourdough experiment ended a while back.

It was fun but it was a lot of work, and time consuming.

I may revisit it when the weather is more conducive to baking, but summertime in Iowa is not a good time to be running an oven indoors.

COVID-1984: The Cuomovirus continues.  I'd like to think it's going to fade away quietly after the first week of November but I suspect Dems are gonna double down on it if Trump is re-elected.  Maybe this will stir freedom lovers to act and to stand up against those using the Wuhan Flu to destroy the nation.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sourdough Journal 4/30/2020

April 30 - abt 6 PM

Yeah, off schedule.  Taking a couple of days off work does that to one.

That said, I skipped tending Baby on Wednesday and did a feed early Thursday AM.  She seems to tolerate that so I may continue doing 4/4/2 feeds every other day.  We'll see.  Meanwhile I saved the discard, fed it with a couple ounces each of water and flour, and put it in the fridge to work with later.

I do think I'm gonna invest in some widemouth jars...I think they'll be easier to work with for storing and working the starter.

Been watching more YouTube videos on breadmaking and it appears I'm gonna have to embrace the artisan loaf concept and save the loaf pans for yeast bread baking.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sourdough Journal 4/28/2020

Tuesday April 28 - abt 2 AM

Baby's still active - today's high water mark was at the shoulder of the quart Ball jar.

Side note - I always wondered about the flour and water paste the old boys on the moonshiner shows on TV used to seal joints on their stills...I don't doubt it dried starter out of the jars is a chore!

Anyway...the usual 4/4/2/clean jar routine.  I think I'll save tomorrow's discard to make a sponge - apparently that's what the fed starter one uses to make bread dough is called - and perhaps bake Thursday or Friday.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Sourdough Journal 4/27/2020

Monday, April 27 - abt Midnight

No, Blogger didn't eat my Sunday entry - I didn't make one.

I also didn't tend my starter.  Bad me.

Went for a motorcycle ride Saturday morning, came home, puttered around the house a little, then laid down for a nap.  Mistake.  Woke up early Sunday morning intending to feed Baby, then fell back to sleep.  One of the downsides for me of working a non-standard shift is my sleep schedule is all out of whack and weekends doubly so.

I tended to Baby a little while ago.  The texture was smoother - not bubbly - and there was a beer note to the smell.  4 oz water, 4 oz flour, 2 oz starter, clean jar, discarded the rest.

Probably going to attempt another discards bake in a couple of days after I make sure she's still active, and going to try not to make the same mistakes as the first bake.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Sourdough Journal 4/25/2020

Saturday, April 25 - abt 3 AM

I have two loaves of home-baked bread cooling on the stovetop.

The fed discard from Wednesday's feeding bloomed nicely, so Friday before I left for work I made dough using a recipe I found online as a guide, figuring to let the dough rest and rise while I was at work then shape it, pan it, rest it again, and bake it Friday night after work.

I started with 3 cups of AP flour and 1 1/2 tsp salt in the KA mixer bowl, combined it with the whisk, then added two cups of starter and a cup of water and mixed with the paddle until the dough started coming together, then switched to the hook and let it knead for abt 10 mins.

I chose to leave the dough in the mixer bowl (stainless steel), covered it, and left it on the stove. 

When I got home I was surprised to find batter instead of dough, though it appeared to be quite active in the bowl.  After some thought I figured I'd try to salvage it by mixing in some more flour. 

It probably took a couple of cups (I wasn't measuring, just watching the dough react to the hook) before the dough started pulling away from the sides of the bowl and forming into a ball on the hook.  The recipe I was using for guidance indicated it would make one loaf (maybe bigger pans?) but it looked to me like I had enough dough for two loaves.

Of course, I had to find the pans, dump the junk accumulated in them, wash them, then grease them.

When I got back to the mixer, the dough had reverted to batter again.  I stirred in another cup or so of flour, got a nice ball going on the dough hook, turned out the dough onto a floured board, divided it into two roughly equal portions, kneaded each a bit to pick up a little flour and knock the 'sticky' off it, rolled it into rectangular shapes, dropped in to the pans, and put the pans in the oven to rest and rise.

Abt an hour and a half later, both loaves were crowning above the pans so I moved the pans to the counter, and set the oven to 400*F.  When the oven was up to temp, I put the bread in and set a 30 minute timer.  After 30 mins the tops were very light brown and the sides and bottoms appeared to be fully baked, so I gave them another 5 mins to see if it would help with browning the tops. 

After another 5 mins, I pulled the pans, dumped the loaves and let them rest on the stove grates to cool. 

Both loaves feel heavy for their size - perhaps a little more rise time in the pan is needed?

The crust isn't as brown as I expected - perhaps a little longer baking time is needed, or dressing with oil or butter before baking?

The texture is even but a bit thick.  I presume if I'd added enough flour initially and it all had time to work it would turned out lighter or "fluffier".

The taste is good - just a slight tang or sour under the butter.  I'll try toasting it later today if the kids leave me any.

Baby got the usual.  Thinking abt doing smaller daily feeds or perhaps storing her in the fridge and feeding once a week - between the starter and the baking I've gone thru most of a 5 lb bag of flour this week.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Sourdough Journal 4/24/2020

Friday, April 24 - abt 12:30 AM

Bear with me when I discuss days and nights - I've worked a non-standard shift for the last 21 years, and for most of my working life in general.  I now work 2 PM - 10:30 PM, so I get home around 11 PM if I leave the shop on time.

When last we met, I had put the jar with the discard in the fridge.  When I got home last night (Thursday night) I pulled the jar out of the fridge, cracked the lid, and left it on the counter to warm up.

This morning, (Friday morning, a hour or so later) I measured a dry cup of flour and a liquid cup of water, put them in a glass bowl, and stirred and scraped the discard into the mixture.  Nice yeasty nose!  I put the bowl on a cookie sheet in case of overflow, loosely covered the bowl with plastic wrap, mostly to protect the towel, and a kitchen towel, and put it on top of the stove.  If all goes well I should be able to start a batch of dough for baking Friday evening or Saturday morning.

Baby got the usual - 4 oz water, 4 oz flour, 2 oz starter, clean jar, and back behind the coffee maker.  High water mark was at the jar's shoulder, texture was bubbly and odor was wonderfully yeasty.  I think the fresher unbleached flour is making a difference in the activity.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sourdough Journal 4/23/2020

April 23 - abt 3:00 AM

(Posting several hours later...I was tired and went to bed right after tending Baby.)

4 oz flour, 4 oz water, 2 oz starter, clean jar.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Saved discard and refrigerated.  Going to try feeding it tonight, letting it rest overnight, and making dough Friday before work so it can raise and perhaps be ready to bake Friday night after work.