experiments in sour

April 27, 2010

A friend gave me a jar of sourdough starter a few days ago. It came well fed, and I stuck it in the fridge for a few days, a little afraid of the contents.

I have made sourdough things in the past (friendship bread, etc), but not for a long time. My friend’s starter came from King Arthur Flour company, and is supposedly nice and old. To turn the starter into bread, there are a few steps. It seemed a little tricky the first time, but I think that I can get the hang of it.

The first step is to feed the starter. I fed mine, and then let it sit out to proof. When it is proofing, little bubbles begin to appear on the surface and a bit of foam builds up.

I set my fed starter out for about 4 or 5 hours. It was cold yesterday, and I think that this slowed things down a bit. But it did eventually foam, bubble, and start to smell nice and sour.  I took out 2 cups of proofed starter to make my loaf of bread, and stuck the rest back in the jar in the fridge for next time.

Then I added the proofed starter to flour, sugar, oil, and salt to form the dough. After mixing and kneading, I set the bread in a slightly warm oven to rise. It was taking a while, so I left it overnight. First thing in the morning I shaped the loaf, and popped it back in the oven to rise until doubled in bulk…it took a little longer then I thought, so I handed the loaf over to my mom (I had to go to work..).

She put the bread in her oven, in a preheated cast iron stewpot. Baking bread in a covered pot in a hot oven creates a nice crispy crust. Something about the more consistent temperature, and the moisture being trapped in the pot (I think).

The finished bread was nice and crispy on the outside, a little flatter than the regular yeasted bread that I make, and smelled a little like alcohol. And it wasn’t too sour, which my mom liked. I am excited to keep trying this recipe, changing things here and there to perfect it!

7 Responses to “experiments in sour”

  1. Mary Foster Says:

    I know of a sour dough starter that is over 350 years old and very protected – the baker let me in on it over 10 years ago. And no, I didn’t ask for any but I did think about it. It’s quite a lovely way to make bread. BTW, love your blog!

  2. Sankari Says:

    That looks so delicious Torrey! Can’t wait to see how you keep changing it up!!

  3. Moni Says:

    Looks delicious!
    Does the starter keep working OK in the fridge?

    • Torrey Says:

      I think so. I am following several different sets of directions…but generally it seems that the starter will do fine in the fridge.

  4. Bill Says:

    Tor, Is this a water or milk-based starter? What do you do to ‘feed’ it?

    • Torrey Says:

      I am not sure what kind of base the starter has. So far, I have fed it water and flour. I am trying out one set of feeding/care instructions that don’t seem to waste a lot of starter. Some have you throwing parts away all the time, and I don’t really want to be doing that.

      • Moni Says:

        Can’t imagine throwing starter away either…like the friendship bread I would think you can use some and refresh what is left. If you are going to throw some away…throw it my way!!

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