Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's Alive!

My parents mentioned a few months ago that they'd bought some sourdough starter for me from King Arthur Flour. They put it in a box and everyone pretty much forgot about it. Until we showed up, and there it was, still in the box. Unfed, untouched.

I gave it a sniff. Smelled like sourdough. So back in the box and away it went to Sacramento, where I watered it, fed it and waited. In a few hours, there were some bubbles. Then froth, and a good sourdough smell. Still alive!

This was the first bread from the new starter. It's made with bread flour, a bit of whole wheat flour, water, salt, the starter, some pâte fermentée (previously made up bread dough), and a good dose of sourdough starter. I did throw in a bit of SAF yeast for insurance, but much less than normal. This dough is well hydrated and a bit sticky. It's not so wet that it sticks to the bottom of the mixing bowl like ciabatta, but rather wet enough to be supple and velvety in the hands.

As soon as the dough was mixed, it went into the refrigerator for an overnight cold, slow proofing. Initial fermentation was then done on the counter as the dough warmed. Then it was benched, formed and baked in a 500° oven with a bit of initial steam.

It has a light sourdough flavor, probably because I could have proofed it longer but didn't have the time. Next time I make bread, the leftover uncooked dough from this batch will be used as pâte fermentée. That should give a bit more sourdough flavor and complexity.

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