May 23, 2010

My sourdough starter was tipsy last night when I pulled it from the fridge. If you let the starter go for a long time in between feedings, the sugar turns into alcohol and a layer of liquid forms at the top of the jar. The starter is totally fine, but super sour! I fed my drunk starter a cup of flour and a cup of water (as per usual) and set it out over night.

This morning I mixed most of the proofed starter with flour to form a moist dough, and set it out to rise under a completely soaked a tea towel. I wanted to leave the dough out all day to see what happened with the longer rising time. When I got home, the dough had reached the towel covering the top of the bowl (it was in a big bowl), and it felt nice and stretchy. It is my understanding that the longer rising time allows for more gluten develop, which causes the dough to become more elastic.

I kneaded the air out of the dough and formed it into a little loaf, and set it out to rise again. (The usual.) The result? Nice, even ballooning. When I put the loaf into the preheated dutch oven it fell a little, as usual, but maintained its shape well, and puffed up a lot during baking.

I nipped into a heel, still warm (a big no-no I know..) and it was nicely crunchy on the outside, with an even, lemony sour dough. Probably should have let it cool before slicing though. Good results, with timing that might work better for me.

1. Feed starter the night before.

2. Quickly throw dough together before running out the door to work.

3. Reshape bread when home around 6, and let rise.

4. Bake a few hours later. Finished around 8.

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