I’m so excited- sourdough worked for me! For those of you who saw last week’s sad results of my first try at sourdough bread made with my own starter, you’ll understand how happy I am. I didn’t want to give up because I love the thought of making bread with sourdough.
So I completely changed the way I made this bread, beginning with a different recipe that was a no-knead bread similar to the artisan bread I make all the time. I cooked it in my enamel dutch oven and got that wonderful artisan crust.
And it tasted good, too. It was nice and sourdough-y flavored with an okay crumb. I thought it would have more air holes in it, but maybe that will come with time as I get used to working with sourdough. We thought it was pretty good anyway for being 100% whole wheat!
I made it with starter from last week that had been waiting in the fridge, without feeding it first. It had bubbles in it, so I could tell was alive. I removed what I needed, fed what remained. and set out on the counter overnight before putting back in the fridge. You can get more tips for how I use sourdough occasionally here.
I did “cheat” a little on this bread because I’m working with a new starter (and not wanting to repeat my last experience) and added a 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. But looking at this starter, I’m hoping the next loaf will rise all on it’s own. Update: Yep, as soon as my starter was mature enough, I never had to add yeast again!
All-in-all, I’m very happy with the ease, the look and the taste of this bread and will continue to use my starter to make this weekly or every other week.
To recap, here’s what I did to finally get a good loaf of sourdough bread:
1. Created my own starter using the 7-day process described here.
2. After a week in the fridge, used this recipe from The Mad Fermentationist, but added 1/4 tsp instant yeast to the water/starter mix and used all 100% whole wheat bread flour. Why all whole wheat? Well, this was the point, to make a whole wheat bread that had been soured to help make it more digestible and get all those nutrients. If I wanted to use part white flour, I’d just stick with my favorite artisan bread recipe.
3. When I shaped the dough for the last rise, I used flour, not cornmeal, and placed it on parchment, just like I do for artisan bread. I baked it in an enameled cast-iron dutch oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, then removed the lid and cooked for another 15 minutes.
UPDATE: after many experimentations, I combined the above recipe with a couple more to come up with what I think really is the perfect, easy sourdough artisan bread that you can see here.
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