Here is my sourdough loaf for today 🙂
Today is the 1st anniversary of my bread-making adventure!
And what an adventure it has been 🙂
I first got enticed by commercial yeast by chance, and tried my first loaf without knowing what I was doing 🙂 It was a very tasty, very hearty bread though – I enjoyed it 🙂
With the confidence coming out of that experience, the week after that I tried baguettes and this time I was very badly defeated 🙂 I have had very serious concerns about whether I would ever be able to bake a decent loaf. This lasted some time, while I read, read, and read about how to best bake a bread.
It was my mom who encouraged me to get hopeful and try again. And again I tried. It was not an easy period I would say; I often failed and only every once a while I could get a decent loaf. I experimented a lot with autolysing, kneading, stretching and folding, over-night dough risen at room temperature or in the fridge, using a roaster as a substitute for a dutch oven, using milk or water in dough, using pre-heated and non-preheated oven, misting the oven versus not doing it while baking, adding rolled oats or seeds like flax seed to dough, and different types of flour (all purpose flour and bread flour).
I got intrigued by wild yeast and sourdough, hence I also experimented with it 🙂 I attempted four times to get a decent starter and eventually got one with a whole wheat flour. It is my Monster starter that has been working just great since last August-September. I almost every single weekend bake a loaf or two using this starter, and I must say every week I notice a subtle progress and development in it. It is a living organism alright 🙂
So I found that while I am still far away from the “perfect loaf”, stretching and folding really works and develops the dough, over night dough is the best, there is no need for pre-heating or misting the oven, or using a dutch oven/roaster to bake a good loaf. All you need is love, patience, and paying attention to dough. If you do this, you will get a great loaf each time after a while. Guaranteed.
Today, on this very special anniversary, I tried sourdough with rolled oat with a recipe similar to this (and without the flax seed). What a beauty 🙂
Here are select loaves I have baked within the last year, starting with the first ever loaf I baked. Looking at them literally makes me happy.
If you are intrigued or interested at all, I would say go for it and try a loaf or two. Baking your own bread is very healthy, satisfying, and most importantly, an exciting hobby 🙂
Happy baking! 🙂
I baked two sourdough today; one boule and the other baton-shaped.
The recipe is quite similar to previous ones with:
- 4/3 cup of whole wheat flour starter fed Friday evening and Saturday morning, 1 1/4 cup water, 3-4 cups bread flour, 2 tbs of sugar, and 2 tbs of salt. It should be slightly sticky
- mix, rest at room temperature, and stretch and fold 4-5 times with 20-60 min in between (it is quite forgiving; you do not need to time everything. what is important is to fold and strech so that the dough and gluten form)
- rise at room temperature over night in a mixing bowl with lid and wrap with a towel
- the next morning (aka today), shape and rest for 10 min. Re-shape if required, cover the loaf with a towel, and place in a plastic bag for a green house effect (I think that works really well) for 4 hours or longer (this week at the end of 4 hours, the loaves had almost doubled)
- bake at 375 min for 50-55 min (until it becomes golden crisp. I no longer pre-heat the oven or use a roaster/dutch oven to bake. Eventually if the dough is good, the bread comes out wonderful)
- cool down and make sure to take your time to enjoy 🙂
Friends; have a look at this 25% whole wheat – 75% bread flour sourdough!
Is it not magnificent? 🙂
With no ego I can tell this is the finest loaf of mine yet.
Sticky dough absolutely pays off – in my experience sticky (that literally sticks lightly-but not overly to your hand when you stretch and fold, or otherwise handle it) yields the softest bread with the best crumb.
This one was baked on a cookie sheet at 375F for 50 min (for 20 min of which it was covered with a lid to prevent the surface from burning).
I no longer use the roaster to bake my loaves, which gives me loaves with much thinner crust (which I love)!
Happy baking everyone! 🙂
I am excited to write this recipe 🙂
It gives a strong, slightly sticky dough that forms a great crust and very soft crumb (the softest I have seen in a sourdough). The carrots, I believe, help with the moist crumb and with a fairly good rise. I also believe that yeast loves the carrot (or carrot juice coming out of the grated pieces). In anyway, I suggest you give this loaf a try and see how you like it 🙂
1. Grate 4 mid-size carrots
2. Add 1.5 cups of sourdough levain to carrots (I fed 2/3 cups fridge-stored starter with 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup+1 tbs water and let rest over-night at room temperature. In the morning it was risen and bubbly. I fed it again two hours before I prepared the dough)
3. Add 1 cup water, 4 cups bread flour, and 1.5 tbs salt. Mix by hand or using utensils.
4. Leave at room temperature (covered) to rise: I had a social to attend, so left it for 4 hours and stretched and folded it twice in between.
5. Place in the fridge over-night
6. The next morning, take it out and rest at room temperature for around 1 hour
7. Shape the dough (I formed a baton today), cover with kitchen towel, and let rise for 1.5 hours
8. The last 20 min; pre-heat the oven and the roaster (if you are using one) to 375 F. Flip the loaf upside down on parchment paper
9. Score the surface, and bake in the roaster; 35 min closed lid and 25 min open lid. Turn off the oven and leave the loaf in the roaster/oven for an additional 1 hour (since this is a moist loaf, I found that this step helps with baking inside the loaf)
Today I learnt that the smoke detectors in my kitchen work just fine because I burnt the parchment paper in the oven!!!!
Never though that would happen. I recently started using it, always in a roaster without any problem; this was the first time I tried it on a cookie sheet.
I had placed the cookie sheet lined with the parchment paper + loaf on the lower shelf of the oven; is that the reason I wonder (oven was at 400 F – many people say that parchment paper is safe to use at this temperature)…
Anyways; a lovely loaf is gone to garbage (the one on top of the burnt paper); luckily I have had another loaf baking in the roaster at the same time, which turned out to be just great 🙂
This loaf is the same as last time where I used milk rather than water in the dough. This time I also increased the amount of yeast, sugar and salt (2 tbs of each for 4 cups of flour), and baked 15 min at 400 F (until I realized parchment was burning…); took out while still in the roaster for 10-15 min until I cleared the oven from smoke; and then baked it at 350 F for an additional 15 min (lid open).
I think I have reached consistency in terms of baking a soft and beautiful loaf, which also happens to have excellent oven spring. I would recommend this recipe to everyone, especially those that are new to baking bread; it is much easier and more forgiving than the bread prepared with water (which I could never bake well) 🙂