I can’t believe it- it worked! 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 the depths of my amazement. I didn’t want to give up, though, especially since I’m trying to accomplished some of the challenges Nourished Kitchen is suggesting as a move toward eating more traditional foods.
I completely changed the way I made it, 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 great, nice and sourdough-y with a good 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 this dough. It was pretty light anyway for being 100% whole wheat!
I made it with the 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 (making it with less water because I read that a thicker started will produce a less sour dough and I’m looking for a mild flavor), and let it set out overnight before putting back in the fridge.
This is what the starter looks like after 8 hours in the fridge again- much nicer than the starter from last week. I did “cheat” a little on the 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.
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, I think. 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 on Heavenly Homemakers.
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.
Now if I can just repeat this beautiful loaf next time without using any yeast.