Monday, February 04, 2008

My First Sourdough Loaves

My first sourdough loaves were a great success (except for forgetting to slash them before baking, but eh, that's just cosmetic). I went for an initial 4-hour rise to develop the sponge and that was just about the right amount of sourness for my taste. It can sit as long as eight hours, or as little as two. Four seemed like as good a place to begin as any.

The dough was very slack, and if I make this recipe again I might do it as a single loaf and tie it up in a well-floured towel to help it retain a higher shape. The loaves did get a considerable amount of spring in the oven.

The recipe called for all-purpose flour. I might try it with bread flour next time, though I'd continue feeding the starter with all purpose, or First Clear. I also went ahead and created steam in the oven which was not indicated in the recipe. The crust was crackly and beautiful, so I'm pretty sure it worked to the loaf's benefit. I baked the loaves to an internal temperature of 190 degrees (again, not much help with that in the recipe), which took about 25 minutes in a 450 degree F. oven.

I'm still kind of amazed that it worked, to be completely honest.

I'm not going to post the recipe yet because I really do think it can be tweaked to perform better. It was a nice place to begin, but I suspect something I won't return to very often once I get the hang of baking with sourdough.

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