Monday, February 29, 2016

More Musings on Bread: Not Sour on Sourdough (YET)

Spoiler alert: the second loaf of sourdough rye, using that second recipe, was a flop show. The sourdough starter is bubbling and happy, and with the exception of my oven temp being perhaps (this is a suspicion, I haven't used a thermometer to verify, just going by my results versus actual bake times indicated in the recipes) a bit less than indicated, I am giving up (at the moment) on the fantasy of baking sourdough rye bread.

Undaunted by bread baking, I decided to try out this recipe for the Best Ever Sourdough Oatmeal bread. Results were a bit different from the rye bread experiment; but not radically different from the rye experiment. Perhaps given the time of year and how cool my kitchen is, I'm not proofing the bread long enough. I'm not sure.

The first loaf was well formed, and despite a happy bubbly starter, it was a dense loaf without much in the way of bubbles appearing in the crumb. Totally edible and delicious, but the texture was not where I wanted it to be. The husband will happily eat this loaf without complaint; however, I am fairly determined to master this. 

Given he had to leave the house super early today, and since today is a scheduled day off for me, my "Kitchen OCD" kicked in, and I mixed up another loaf (I halved the recipe both times, the first time as well as today, since it's just two people here, I can't justify mixing up two loaves of bread, and it's so easy to mix this up (unlike those two, failed, pesky attempts at rye), I don't see this as a problem or a poor expenditure of time.  

I fed my starter a few days ago, and it's a bit wetter than I usually make it, so it was very easy scooping out what I needed for the recipe, and additionally, regarding the water the recipe calls for, I add that LAST, and I think today's dough didn't require so much water. I added just enough and as I stirred the dough told me when it had enough to drink. The ball formed well, I gave it about 5 minutes of kneading with a bare bones addition of flour to keep it from sticking on my hands. 

Given that I didn't do my BIG COOK DAY this weekend, today is a modified BCD, and after I pressure steamed my week's worth of hard boiled eggs and took the eggs out of the Nesco, I placed the bread loaf pan in the cooker, on the trivet and put the lid on loosely, so the loaf could benefit from what proofing can be done in the Nesco as it cooled off.   

"Those who feast upon hope, die fasting," so they say (whomever THEY are). 

I'm neither an optimist nor a pessimist, I am a realist who has an inner struggle wanting to be an idealist. But today, I am feasting on hope, that I have unlocked the mysteries of this particular loaf. 

Note to self: Bake as directed. Turn oven off. Don't open door, and keep loaf in oven additional 7 minutes. 

Additional note: I *DID* mix up the dough for the babkas this weekend, and that dough is sitting in the fridge awaiting its date with delicious destiny. One loaf, I have decided to make a chocolate coconut one as indicated in the original recipe I linked to in a previous blog post; and the second loaf, I think I will put Speculoos butter and possibly pecans. So, a trip to Trader Joes is in order today too.

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