Friday, May 18, 2007
Who sez we ain't got cultcha?
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
For over two weeks now I have been cultivating a sourdough starter. Fussy stuff, that sourdough, especially if you follow this woman's recipes. (And really wasteful, too: I probably had to throw out 2/3 of the flour I actually used to make this thing. Which means I won't be doing it often.) I have had hand-me-down sourdoughs, with some success. This one? Well, it was...fussy!
Terribly fussy. But, as ever, I'll first follow an unfamiliar recipe exactly as written and then, should the results prove less than satisfactory, I'll mess with it the second time around. The starter is fine. Not super sour; not ridiculously active. Unfortunately, I did not have the 14-18 hours hours she required for a substantial, 4x rise, so I did make do with 11 and a 2 1/2x. But the bread was pretty good. Dense, chewy, faintly stinky.
Anyone out there have loads of experience with sourdough? (I know about you, Nada...) Do you do wet starters or dry? Always use the same flour? Have you had one die on you? Is all this effort really worth it, especially when my usual bread fits in very well with my lifestyle, or is sourdough a "special" bread only? Its attractions to me are 1. it's somewhat magical, just water and flour and 2. the bread lasts a wee bit longer than "regular" home-baked bread. So I am wondering where this bread will fit into my bread repertoire.
We had a tiny salad out of the garden last night (yea!), along with sage/garlic baked cranberry beans from last year's harvest, and this bread, and local wine. We'll be trying to eat a lot closer to home this season, and I will probably document the process here. (If you would like any of the recipes, please email me and I will gladly pass them on.)