Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Sourdough Experiment

I am pretty excited about the opening of a Bulk Barn near our house.  This means I won't have to travel too far to buy things like spelt or rye or other specialty flours, so I've been poring over recipes and books and checking out blogs for inspiration.

The other night I was salivating over this blog entry over at The Reluctant Homesteaders, and figured now would be opportune to give sourdough bread another try.

I've made sourdough before, and don't remember what happened in my life that my starter bit the dust, so I used the original recipe I found at Robin Hood flour and gave it another chance.  Robin Hood's sourdough starter is called Sherwood, and I won't repeat the recipe here, because you can get it at the aforementioned link.  I don't even want to link you to the actual sourdough bread recipe, because the photo of the bread is SO DISMAL I'm embarrassed for the people at Robin Hood.

Oh. Okay, okay, you wanna see this sad excuse for a loaf of bread?


I mean, reallyREALLY?!?  That pathetic excuse for a loaf of bread looks like it spent 2 days in a plastic bag on the grocer's shelf before being abandoned in the trunk of a car.  It looks deflated and battered, not at all indicative of what a crusty, fragrant, glossy loaf of sourdough bread should look like.  It's like the poster-child for the bread that didn't quite make it off the shelf and had to be transformed into croutons, or - shudder - breadcrumbs. 

Wow.  Well.  I feel better now that I've gotten that out of my system.

So about a week ago, I dutifully put together the sourdough recipe.  I mixed everything up, and grossly underestimated The Power of the Yeast when I used one of my Corningware dishes.  After about 2 hours, I went into the kitchen, and my starter was pouring out of the dish and spreading out of the counter, like something out of a Twilight-Zone-kitchen experiment gone wrong.  Had I not caught it in time, I think the mass would have been pouring down the front of my kitchen cabinets and taking up residence in my kitchen drawers.

I am dutifully stirring and nurturing my starter.  I've given some starter to my Mom, who said she'd also give sourdough bread-baking another try, and I've found a recipe that uses the starter discard at The Yumarama Bread Blog to make pancakes and waffles.  I'll let you know how things turn out when I finally get around to making a loaf.

Maybe I'll even have a pretty picture to go along with it.


Buck said...

Hi there. Buck here. I am so excited you are giving sourdough another go. I hope you have a lot of luck with it.

The Sherwood recipe is really different from the one I used. I am interested to see how it turns out for you.

And I agree, that is a pathetic loaf of bread; certainly not the kind of thing to inspire anyone to start baking.

So good luck. I look forward to hearing about your results.

Shim Farm said...

Hi there Buck! I'll have an update for you in a bit. Not much success, but I'll put it all out there for posterity. I'll keep plugging away at it until I get it, that's for sure.

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