A n00b attempts Sourdough and Reports

August 27, 2015

I thought my Starter was a goner

Filed under: Uncategorized — alie0bronwynn @ 3:21 pm

Last post almost 5 years ago – whaaaa??  Long time, no see.  But I had to find my old recipe and I just went through something and thought I’d share.

Two kids, and YEARS later I haven’t made bread in almost 2 years, but I did keep my starter.  It has moved with me from San Francisco to Austin, TX and now to Seattle, WA.  After living here 2 years I’d realized I hadn’t refreshed my starter since.  IT was GROSS.  The top inch or so was black and the smell… well – I certainly worried my 10-year-old starter had officially kicked the bucket for good.  But I was willing to try.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Dug through that layer of disgusting filth to the stuff that still looked like starter underneath.
  2. Used about a tablespoon of it – and tossed the rest.
  3. Refreshed, refreshed and refreshed again.
    1. This took about a week of refreshing when the starter seemed to reach its max potential before it really started doubling as normal.  A heavy hand with the rye flour REALLY helped in this case.

The starter is now doubling more like its old self but the sour smell is really more hard-core than before.  Since my “Sourdough” was never super sour I’m wondering if the accidental killing of it has, in some ways, made it a better starter.  I plan on making bread this weekend so I will let you know.

Thank goodness it’s hard to kill sourdough!!


January 4, 2010

The fluffiest and easiest kneading

Filed under: Uncategorized — alie0bronwynn @ 4:45 am

Ok, once upon a time I wanted to make bread and forgot to do the barm the previous night.  So, I looked up a bread recipe that didn’t require the barm for overnight – it was White Levin from The Handmade Loaf.  While it looked standard, it had a CRAZY kneading schedule.  I mean, up until now I did the 15 minutes of kneading and that’s it.  Here’s the schedule in my words.

Dough has been made – transfer to lightly floured cutting board.  Knead for 15 seconds (yeah, that’s right).  Let sit for 10 minutes.

In the meantime clean out your bowl, and put a fine mist of oil in it.

Knead dough for 15 (I know, I know – awesome, right?).  Put it into the bowl, let rest for 10 minutes. (I like to cover it in a mist of oil and then plastic).

Pull dough out, knead for 15 seconds.  Put back into bowl, mist with oil, cover with plastic, let rest for 30 minutes.

Pull dough out, knead for 15 seconds.  Put back into bowl, mist with oil, cover with plastic, let rest for 1 hour.

Pull dough out, knead for 15 seconds.  Put back into bowl, mist with oil, cover with plastic, let rest for 2 hours.

After this, your dough should have doubled since the initial batch and is ready for shaping and it’s second rise.

Now – this is time heavy in terms of keeping track, but I love not wearing my arms out with kneading AND the extra bonus is with this method my dough has been it’s MOST fluffy and well risen.  So, proof is in the pudding.  Or the dough in this case.

January 1, 2010

Ok, I finally get the fridge

Filed under: Uncategorized — alie0bronwynn @ 1:18 am

It’s taken me until today to realize how the refrigerator can play into your baking and how.  Last Christmas I made rolls for my in-laws and my family.  I made the dough at the same time, but cooked the rolls for my in-laws Christmas Eve and then the rolls for my family Christmas Day.  I stored my family’s rolls in the fridge, very nervously might I add.

But here is the key, that is simple but no one ACTUALLY states out load and lists the implications.  Your refrigerator slows the fermentation/rising process.

Here is how you use the refrigerator in your baking.

Starter goes in the fridge – because it slows the process it keeps your starter “fresher” than if it was out.  If it’s out all the time, you need to replenish/freshen your starter every day, if it’s in the fridge the process is slower so it can wait a week.

Rising your bread overnight – you can do this in the fridge because it doesn’t STOP the process, only slows it.  This way you can do the second rise the next day because as the bread warms the process speeds up again.

Barm goes in the fridge overnight – If your recipe calls for making barm it generally goes in the fridge overnight because, let’s be honest, no one would bake if it was a 12 hour process.  So, the barm rises for a few hours and hits the cooler to slow down before you add more flour & water to give it more to feed on.

So – I’ve spelled it out.  The fridge slows the process down.  So if you want to put a halt on your baking at some point and restart – you use your fridge.

P.S.  I’ve also heard that leaving the dough in the fridge overnight can increase the sour taste – I haven’t done a comparison yet.

December 31, 2009

Sorry for the lapse

Filed under: Uncategorized — alie0bronwynn @ 10:44 pm

Hi Everyone,

Doubt many people follow this blog anyway, except my awesome friends who indulge me, but I want to apologize for the lapse in posts.  Life’s been crazy.

However, I haven’t stopped baking bread!!  Numerous books later I feel like my bread is getting better and better.  I’m pulling techniques from everything I read and trying new things all of the time.  Now that I have a moment, I’m going to try to jot it all down and get back on the blogging wagon.

Hope your bread is going well!!

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