I rarely give up on anything. I like to think that when a difficult household task presents itself, I step up and work out ways around the problem. Eventually I get things done. Nothing should be too difficult. Enter the sour dough loaf. Grrrrrrr. Over the years I have tried to make good sourdough. I've made sourdough, but none of it is what I would call good. If I get the taste right, the texture is not good. If the texture is great, the loaf looks like a science project. When I bought the artisan bread in five minutes book and used that recipe and method, I didn't like the taste at all.
I am fortunate to be part of my blog neighbourhood. Recently one of my blog neighbours sent me a sourdough starter. His name is Henry. Henry has been producing good bread and developing in flavour for a number of years. I renamed Henry, Martha, daughter of Henry, and have been carefully tending her since she arrived.
Henry arrived safe and sound after a long trip from Victoria.
I read the note that came with him and followed the instructions. This is Martha, daughter of Henry, after her first feed and in her new container.
Yesterday I made my first loaf using some of Martha - I was aiming for a sandwich loaf similar to the one produced in a bakery near here. I'll let the pictures tell the story.
As soon as I saw the texture of the bread, I knew I hadn't left it rise long enough. I'll fix that today. I also cut it the wrong way, again, I'll fix that. And to be honest, we did eat the bread; the taste was good but the texture was a bit rubbery and dense. So I'm guessing the starter is giving me the taste we want, I just have to work on my times, and I need to start the loaf earlier than my regular bread. I also need to read more about hydration rates and I must be more accurate with weights. It's definitely given me a lot to think about, and that's not a bad thing.
I would like to make a loaf like this. We are having Hanno's 70th birthday next month and I'd like to have a few of these loaves sitting on the table for everyone to enjoy. I think I'll go back to making the sourdough in my cast iron pot, instead of the regular bread tin for now. I WILL master this. Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath.