The Sourd’oh

Sourdough baking seems to be one of the favorite hipster pastimes these days, and while I actively try to avoid getting labeled as one, my beard, glasses, corduroy jackets, occasional pipe smoking and of course food blogging aren’t really helping my case. To make matters worse, I was into sourdough baking way before it was cool. Back then, however, I was winging it something awful and the sourdough I had in those days looked more like prison hooch than actual sourdough. It quite likely did nothing to improve the bread, which wasn’t always that awesome.

Having spent ten days in France, with fresh baguette every morning, the thought of sourdough baking reentered my mind and here’s the result of the first dabble. I should probably point out that this is a story about how my baking went and not a good guide for beginners.

Here’s a piece of actual advice: Machines are awesome. Mixing and kneading dough by hand is something I find rather boring. The drawbacks are the constant risks of overworking and adding too much flour. Since machines are usually rather efficient they can make the dough too compact by kneading for too long and the efficiency also means you can pack more flour into the dough than you would if working manually. I did both of those errors right away…

Managed to partially save the dough by painstakingly adding more water, after which it rose quite nicely.

I cut my dough in two and made a small loaf and six rolls. Also took the opportunity to play around a bit with the scoring.

The rolls brushed with butter and sprinkled with sea salt and french herbs.

The final product looks pretty awesome but wasn’t as moist or fluffy as expected and had too much of a sour aftertaste.

As seen in this shot, the inside of the roll is a bit too dense. Things to do differently next time: Less flour, less kneading and probably sourdough made from rye instead of wheat.

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7 Responses to “The Sourd’oh”

  1. try folding instead of kneading… much easier and much more efficient. Good instructions everywhere on youtube but I like WildYeast blog and instructions best of all.. nice and simple!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oyg8K6J8QM&feature=plcp is her instruction video for folding the dough.

    You have a lovely shape on that large loaf though, I’ve been having terrible trouble with the dough overproving before I blink in the warmth and humidity we’ve had this last week :(

    • I do that too, but not as cleverly as in that video :)

      By ‘kneading’ I only mean the initial blunt force associated with the mixing of the ingredients.

    • Missed the last half of your comment. I’m quite happy with the shape myself. I almost always have used a tin in the past, so I was a bit out of my depth. I think it’s hot enough here to be in the risk zone for overproving, but I might have been saved by the possibly slightly old dry yeast :)

  2. Looks good to me. Personally I love the hand-mixing process,
    and have the biceps to prove it….

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