Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adventures in Baking: Episode 1: Sourdough

So, it's been a month of no blogging. Sorry!  I've been very busy getting settled in our new place.  We got a FABULOUS deal, a four bedroom house for $650 a month! It's only through April, and then we renegotiate (or move?), but until then, we're making the most of it.

So, we recently decided we weren't going to take any more help from the government, so we're trying to save money, especially in the food area.  Oh, but we do love those artisan breads!  So I decided to go crazy and make my own sourdough starter, and then bread.  It sure was torture waiting those first couple weeks for the starter to get started! And the first couple of loaves weren't very sour, but it's gotten better and better as we go, so YAY!!!

Several of you, my readers, have asked me for tips, tricks and a recipe!  Well, I just used this one from Better Homes and Gardens, which I actually got from the recipe book that my mother-in-love gave me for my first birthday married to Matt. (Thanks, KathieMom!)  I don't think I've ever had to change anything, except to vary how much flour I use, which changes according to the weather.

I have learned a few things, though, both from experience and research.  One thing that may throw a lot of people off is that sourdough tastes different based on where you live. No matter how hard you try, even if you bought starter from San Francisco, you cannot make San Francisco sourdough unless you live in San Francisco.  Sorry.  Sourdough gets sour from the various bacteria and things in the air, and the air is different in San Francisco than it is in Rexburg, Michigan, Arizona, or Alaska.  So you must first accept this fact.

Also, it takes a while for things to ferment. You don't need to age your starter for a year (like most wines) or longer to get it good and sour, but it does take longer than a few weeks.  My starter actually smells stronger now than it did when I made my first loaf.

Last, I've learned that I need to double my starter, because my family likes this bread, and it is usually gone within a couple of days, and the first loaf is gone the first day. So in order to make it more often, I added more replenishing stuff to my starter last time. I think I may need a bigger container.

My next adventure will be based on the book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  I've only read a little, but what I've read is very exciting, and may very well revolutionize my baking life! So stay tuned for the next episode of... Adventures in Baking!!!!

1 comment:

shawnee said...

Awesome! Thanks, I will definitely be trying out your tips and recipe for sour dough bread. Alex will be THRILLED! Sending love your way!