Vermont Sourdough, round two

This time I used the Carl starter which has a little more tang. The loaves were in the oven for 30 minutes but at 420ºF – at least that’s what I set the oven at – as opposed to the 40 minutes at 460ºF the recipe calls for.

Vermont Sourdough, Round Two
Vermont Sourdough, Round Two

Continue reading “Vermont Sourdough, round two”

Vermont Sourdough

Yeah, it’s been a few months. Not that I haven’t made bread, I have, numerous batches in fact. But they were really mostly “sandwich” bread and all basic yeast things. Not as tasteless as store bought “Wonder” type stuff (which they were meant to replace) but not terribly exciting, either. On the up side, these numerous plain breads allowed me to play with the oven’s temp a bit and I think I have it tweaked to be pretty accurate now so things don’t burn too much. So let’s get on with today’s bake.

Vermont Sourdough Continue reading “Vermont Sourdough”

Round Seven – Round indeed!

It’s been a short while since I’ve updated the blog so here’s the latest which was actually made last weekend, June 14th.

This time around, I went with a round bread to see how that would work. Since I still don’t have a banneton, I made do with a rice-flour coated, couche-lined sieve. By using a sieve, as opposed to just a bowl, I figured it would allow for some air transfer and keep the couche/canvas from getting damp and tacky. It pretty much worked, although it was still a bit tacky and pulled the dough ball a little when I transfered it to the baking sheet. I did not use the tiles this time, just to see how it would turn out and also to help conserve a certain amount of energy heating them for 45 minutes ahead of time (besides, it was already a pretty hot day, no sense heating up the kitchen even more).

The worry here was that the ball of dough would collapse and turn into a giant disk and not a proper “boule” or ball. Well, it did a bit of both. The soft dough rather spread out once it was on the baking sheet but perked up a bit and rose up during the initial time in the oven. Yes, I’m still guessing what the oven temp actually is, have not yet found a reasonably priced decent oven thermometer.

So again spending the entire time watching the progress and giving the bread a spin halfway through the cooking time, here’s the result. (Click pics to enlarge.)

Round 7: Round loaf - Click to embiggen

Continue reading “Round Seven – Round indeed!”

World’s Best Pancakes: starter discard rescue recipe

pancakes1For the home baker who keeps a sourdough starter, every time you feed that starter you have to reduce the quantity or face possibly ending up with an Olympic sized pool’s worth of starter.  When you are baking maybe three loaves a week, and even if you refrigerate the starter for a week or two, excess starter is a reality. So what do you do with this excess? You would rather not just toss it in the garbage and definitely not down the drain (unless you enjoy keeping your plumber’s wallet well padded) so what’s to be done?

Well, PANCAKES are one delicious and easy way to use this extra starter up.

Continue reading “World’s Best Pancakes: starter discard rescue recipe”

Stretch and Fold: you don’t need to knead

Preamble: None of the following is original to me in the least. Here I’m merely collecting the wisdom of much more experienced bread makers into one easy to find spot. And I’m not even saying this is “all there is”, much more can be found on the web, from other people with different methods.

Stretch and Fold

This is a method of handling dough which pretty much replaces, in whole or in part, the more traditional “push and turn” method of kneading of the dough.

grab the top third, stretch a bit, and fold down like a letter
From “Stretch and Fold Again”: Grab the top third, stretch a bit, and fold down like a letter

I’ve created a Step-By-Step photo illustration of the process in it’s own post here: Stretch and Fold Again. Although, as with most anything, there are variations on how it’s done, the basic principle is as follows:

Take your dough that has been resting and turn it out on the counter. The counter should be either very, very lightly floured for the first fold of regular dough, slightly dampened for first fold of wet dough or unfloured for 2nd and later folds of either.

Continue reading “Stretch and Fold: you don’t need to knead”