My current fascination obsession with sourdough began earlier this year, when I picked up a copy of Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor.
As a novice bread baker, I had attempted a few (surprisingly beautiful and delicious) of Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread loaves in various combinations of white and whole wheat flours, along with some whole grains. All turned out beautifully, and I was bitten by the bread baking bug!
Being such a newbie to the world of bread baking (and not knowing the jargon), I am very glad for Reinhart’s excellent (and very detailed) explanations about the stages of bread, and the different components — most of his recipes are a two-day process, and call for overnight fermentations of different stages of dough.
Over the last month, I have cultivated my own wholewheat sourdough starter (which I have named Fluffy, because it is my pet), and have made two whole wheat sourdough loaves using recipes from Whole Grain Breads from this starter! The first was Whole Wheat Hearth Bread, served at a get-together last weekend.
The second sourdough was Multigrain Hearth Bread finished tonight!
The Multigrain Hearth Bread recipe allows for the addition of any whole grains — larger grains should be cooked before adding to the soaker, while smaller grains can be added uncooked. I decided that oats and flax seeds would be a lovely combination, and I was right! What a delicious bread this turned out to be — full of flavour for eating on its own, or with just a little bit of butter or old cheddar. This is definitely my new ‘standby’ bread!
I also have a more serious project for the end of this week: I have been charged with baking white sourdough loaves to accompany a wine-tasting! I don’t have much experience with white flour, so I did a test run tonight with a bit of Fluffy (my whole wheat starter) converted into a white starter, Snowy (you know, the little white dog from Tintin). I hate to report that it was a grand disaster, with gummy insides:
Obviously I have more work to do (and have found a new recipe, and turned Snowy into a liquid levain as per the instructions in Daniel Leader’s Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe’s Best Artisan Bakers.
Cross your fingers that I have beautiful white loaves to show you soon!