This is a place to share successes. Yet, without mistakes and failures, you don’t learn. After my first “good” loaf I took off on changing things. I had failures. Yet, I don’t know enough about the bread process to know just where I went wrong.
I think part of it was too wet dough. But was I using a starter that wasn’t fully ready yet? For a loaf we wanted to eat I had to return to the basics. Verify the starter by float testing it. Verify the dough by measuring everything out completely and not futzing with it later. I did both of these things yesterday.
There I was, reading through a pair of books I have. It was great. Then boom! Five books arrive at the library after weeks on hold. Lots of variety also. Two novels, two instructionals, a book of poetry. It’s heaven. If I could read at a normal pace.
Water, flour, salt. That is all it takes from you to have a loaf of bread. There are also microorganisms. From wheat, air, or your skin, one or more of them have wild yeast and lactobacilli. Or maybe all of them have both of them. They do the big work of transforming a glop of water and flour into what I’ll be eating in a couple of hours.
I learned about how to do this from #bakewithjack. He, Jack, has a new bit on baking each Thursday. A bunch of them have been on sourdough. Including how to make a starter, what you see in the jar. He specifies the wholemeal rye as the source flour to use. But really, any flour will do. That video was my, ahem, starter in sourdough baking. His method is pretty fool-proof and it doesn’t waste anything – the cut the starter in half, pour the rest down the drain. That always put me off. Feeding a starter, throwing away half? What a waste! There’s another method also from Mike Greenfield about just eating the starter. That’s what scallion pancakes are for. But I prefer Jack’s method unless I’m hungry.
I’m now going through the pain of waiting for the loaf to cool so I can eat it. It’s just a couple of hours. I think I’ll watch 15 Mistakes Most Beginners Make. It’s from Mike Greenfield’s Pro Home Cooks. He has scads of videos on cooking. Great stuff.
Or maybe read about sourdough on Wikipedia. Another rabbit hole to go down into.