Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Very Own Sourdough

May 13, 2007
After all the complaining I did about my slow-starting starter, I feel very proud to announce that what it lacked in speed, it made up for in staying power. I made the basic sourdough bread in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I like this book, although I don't find that he has the same comforting, reassuring voice that Rose has. With Rose's recipes, I always felt that I knew exactly what texture the dough should be, and I knew as I went along that things were going to be all right. And I used Rose's shaping techniques, which seem more understandable to me. I liked that his sourdough recipe made two loaves. I was going to bake them both yesterday, but then it occurred to me that I could just put the dough back in the refrigerator, where it would just gain in flavor overnight. On Saturday I used La Cloche to make a boule.

This was a very nice loaf of bread, although I think it could have done with another five minutes in the oven. With Wonder Bread being a zero and San Francisco sourdough being a ten, I prefer a four or five on the sourdough scale--this was about a 3.5, which was pretty impressive for its first outing.
Today I got out my baguette pan and made one baguette.

I could have made two loaves--this one rose much more enthusiastically than I expected, and nearly popped out of the baguette pan. I may have overcompensated a bit for the first loaf, which was a little too pale. But this one tasted just about perfect--the overnight refrigeration was an excellent idea--with a few cheeses, some Italian salami, and strawberries. And wine. Jim bought two bottles of wine (pouilly-fuisse and pinot noir) for Mother's Day, and naturally I had to try both since he bought them just for me. I thought the white wine had the edge, but it was necessary to keep sampling so I could be sure. Sarah and Jim agreed, using the same technique.
We're going to Vancouver and then to Alaska, so I have only one more weekend to bake bread before we leave. Elizabeth gave me Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb for Mother's Day, and I think I'll try something from that book. My bread cookbook collection now numbers five.


Melinda said...

Marie, well done. They look terrific.
(Don't you feel bad that you yelled at your starter?)

breadchick said...

YEAH!!! Very well done on your first outing! In fact, very very well done!!!

Doughadear said...

Your sourdough breads look wonderful! Well done! I recently picked up Peter Reinhart’s wonderful Baker’s Apprentice and as I am going through a recipe I am thinking Rose would be explaining much more here. Ultimately the recipe works out fine it’s just more reassuring to have Rose take you every step of the way. When I made my first loaf of sourdough I was floored by its exceptional taste and that it was not very sour at all. I assumed all sourdough breads were as sour as the San Francisco sourdoughs you buy at the store. By far I prefer homemade.

Knead2quilt said...

Breadbasketcase, I have enjoyed your writing for a long time now. Hope you'll keep it up. I have all of PR's books, including Crust & Crumb and I heartily recommend the Yeasted Multigrain Bread. Be sure to have some cooked brown rice available to put in the dough and be sure to add some sunflower seeds. It's my favorite sandwich/toasting bread. K2Q

Anonymous said...

OH! What beauties!!! I am so hungry now ... esp for that baguette.

Congrats, mama!!!! : )


evil cake lady said...

hooray!! your sourdough starter went through it's sullen teenage phase and has emerged a well behaved adult...and what lovely loaves of bread you made together!

i love super sour sourdough, but then again i grew up in the SF bay area...

breadbasketcase said...

I've apologized profusely to my starter. We have forgiven each other.

Yes, I like the subtle tang of this sourdough. And, you're right--it did turn out fine, even without all the reassuring words.

Thanks for the recommendation--I was looking at the recipe for that multigrain bread. It looks very hearty.

Thanks--my Mother's Day present to myself.

I should have remembered about the sullen teenage phase!

Kim Ode said...

Those are gorgeous loaves; I can almost smell them. And your baguette has all the colors!Good oven, good starter, good baker.

Anonymous said...

I love Crust and Crumb. My first bread was Bread Alone, which was much more exacting in its demands, but when I got C&C it seemed to all finally make sense and I kept a levain going for a year, making bread almost every weekend. Then a friend gave me the Bread Bible saying that EVERY recipe turns out well, and I have found that to be the case.

Keep on baking

breadbasketcase said...

Thanks--I was pleased with how they turned out. My strengths as a baker are stubbornness and reading recipes all the way through at least twice. I'm not a baker in the way that, say, Pat Roberts is. When I saw her stretch out that potica dough, I knew I was watching a master.

It's amazing how much there is to learn about bread baking, isn't it? I chose bread over pies and pastries because it seemed so much easier--now that I've been doing it for over a year, I don't think it's easy, but it's very satisfying.