I had an entire post written up, but it was too. aarghhh. I am so sick of hearing about the virus, I am tired of hearing people argue if it is or isn't as bad as influenza. Nobody can seem to talk about anything else.
So my question was. Do you have yeast? Um.. what do you mean? I mean, if you can't get bread at the grocery, you have to make it; and you need yeast to make bread. So do you have yeast? What kind? There's a couple to choose from: commercial yeast (Red Star, Fleichman's, SAF) and sour dough starter.
Each one gives you the same general result. A loaf of bread. Usually the commercial yeasts will almost always give you a great rise, fine crumb, and a way to make a sandwich. BUT if it is too old, or has not been stored correctly then it's not so good. Nobody likes ending up with a brick after using 3 to 15 cups of flour, plus sugar, fat, and the precious yeast to find out that it didn't work.
Commercial yeast is finicky. Store it too hot and it dies. Store it in the freezer and it lives. Make your bread with too hot of water or milk, kill your yeast. Use warm to cool water, yeast is happy. Too much salt will retard (prevent yeast from growing), too little and the yeast will over proof (rise) and your bread will be loose and crumbly.
Sour Dough is what some of us bakers call perpetual yeast. It is easy to make, and you don't have to buy it. Yes you can find sour dough starters on ebay and etsy, craiglist and most likely facebook too. You can also make it yourself.
It can be finicky like commercial yeast, but once you have it going, it is a powerhouse. Again, you have to treat it right.
|About day 7|
I started this sour dough starter in February. I all of a sudden decided I needed a new challenge. I guess dealing with my second kid getting married and kiddos #4 & #5 saying they are getting married this year too! Dealing with health issues (don't go down the three steps in the garage incorrectly!) and trying to make sure everyone is getting the love and attention they need and want. Plus working on a quilt, and just feeling overwhelmed. So yes, let's start a new challenge!
No pressure. So I follow The Prairie Homesteader,
and so I learned from her. I have made starter before, but that was before .. That was before our new normal. So I needed a refresher course. I followed her directions and made my starter. As you can see, it came out great.
I forgot to take pictures of each day, but if you look closely at the picture you can see tiny bubbles. It took about 7 days, and I made some yummy sour dough pancakes. I waited until day 14 until I attempted my first sour dough loaf. It .. worked.. but it was pale, and bland, and heavy and tight crumb. Nothing like I was expecting. I wanted big holes, I wanted it to be crispy on the outside and fluffy yummy on the inside. It was not. So I kept feeding my starter and using the discard for muffins and pancakes.
|About day 14|
I patiently kept feeding it and using the discard, giving discard away to a good friend. And now look at it. Look at those amazing bubbles. I found a recipe for sourdough bread. It is more labor intensive, it is worth it though. I also was educated by
amyinthekitchen.com about why my first attempt didn't work. I didn't do a float test. You can find this information on the website, and it isalso where I found the recipes I am working with right now to make sour dough bread. I already have a sour dough pancake recipe I like.
And finding the recipe I liked a lot was on her other page, Little Spoon Farm.
I tried making her recipe for "Beginner's Sour Dough Bread", and let me tell you.. It is yummy. It was more work than I was expecting, but it is worth it.
This picture of that recipe; it makes two LARGE loaves, and I think if I make that one again I will cut the dough into fourths, not just in half. Because the loaves were so big that it is too wide to cut easily. Yes I can remedy this by cutting across the loaf, and then putting the cut edge down and make half slices, but I didn't want to do that.
These loaves are BEAUTIFUL! And I made them!
Isn't it pretty? Look how wide it is! It is 8 inches, or a little more wide! This one I did the classic triple slash with the razor blade.
I will warn you, you need a brand new razor blade, the kind you put in a box knife, to make the slashes in the dough. I tried with a sharp kitchen knife and it just didn't slice through as good as a thin razor blade. I may even try using one of those double edge razors you get for old Gillette razors.
This one with the weird face, I tried to get fancy with the razor blade, and when it was done baking, it looked a lot different! But wow did scoring the loaves with the razor blade help it rise better. I know it doesn't make sense, but it works. MY little one said the wavy slash was a snake, what you can't see is on the one end of that slash is looks like a little forked tongue coming out.
Now look at how tall they are! 4 inches! Holy cow! And they are a little different in height because I used different size bowls to proof them in. They weighed exactly the same.
This bread is delicious. It does not have a strong sour dough flavor, which is good because two of my kids do not like the taste, but they are getting better with it. I am educating their palates.
I am so thankful for these two ladies who helped me to grow. I love learning, I love cooking, I love baking. I just hate cleaning up (just being honest). I am currently working on another recipe from Little Spoon Farm
, her Sourdough Country Loaf Bread. This recipe only makes one loaf, but it was so easy now that I understand what I am doing, and so quick for me. The beginner's loaf seemed hard at first because it was the first time I was making the recipe. But next time I make the beginner's bread recipe I will cut it into four, and give it away along with some starter and the website so they can start this amazing journey.