Sourdough Starter Update

So I baked my first loaf of sourdough yesterday, from the starter I started last week. I used this method (more or less.) In no particular order, here’s what I think.

  • The bread didn’t proof, according to her water test. And I probably should have waited, as a result. But I’d been growing it on a counter, it was bubbling and even foaming nicely, and I was making beef stew as the perfect accompaniment to a fresh loaf of sourdough, so I did her “if it doesn’t proof” method of feeding it and starting the bulk fermentation process 30 minutes later.
    2015-11-08 11.21.49
  • I baked on day 5. In retrospect, I think I rushed this. I think it might have been better if I had waited and done it tonight. I tend to double down on committing to hard things, and there was no reason it all couldn’t have waited (and there were even reasons it would have been better— I missed on plans to go do something fun with the BFF on the last night she was in town), except that I had mentally doubled down. I’ll work on it, but really committing is, I think, a virtue more often than it’s a vice. So I want to be careful about committing less. I used to be wishy-washy, the BFF won me over to really committing to something, and I think, most of the time, it’s the right answer. Go big or go home!
  • Possibly because I rushed it, it didn’t rise as much as I think it might, if I had waited. But I think it was good.
  • My loaf doesn’t look like hers— I think it’s blonder because it’s bigger and flatter, so I can work on shaping it better or dividing it into smaller loaves.
  • My loaf had more flavor than the loaf a couple of weeks ago, but was kind of bland for sourdough. I feel like that’s because the starter’s new. As it ages, I’m hoping it takes on more tang.
  • The holes in mine were bigger than the ones in hers. I also had some big air pockets, probably because of the way I shaped it. But I like that in bread.
  • The shaping, second rise, hour in the oven, hour to cool thing means this needs to not be something I do during the week. It will need to happen on the weekend, when I can start it earlier. Though I’m wondering about doing the steps and then par-cooking or freezing the shaped loaf to bake later. The baking and resting can take 2 hours on a weeknight, but 3.5 is not ideal.
  • My mom was telling me (having never done this) that she didn’t think it rose enough and would be dense and heavy. It wasn’t. Not perfect, but not half bad, especially for a first attempt.
  • Sourdough is an ongoing commitment beyond what I thought. The starter’s in the fridge now, but I’ll need to keep feeding it and using it over time, for it to really reach its potential. Luckily, I’m finding all kinds of sweet and savory options that make having some starter on hand not the worst thing ever.

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