Sourdough (Let’s Get it Started)

What better way to start writing about my baking than to talk about my sourdough starter. Disclaimer: I realize the last thing the world needs is one more baking blog, this is primarily intended for my own historical purposes!

Ok, so during our trip to KAF Paul helped me get a sourdough crock and dough whisk (among other things!), so I planned to buy the KAF starter when I got home. As if on cue I arrived home to a KAF catalog with a free starter with purchase of crock promotion! I reached out to customer service to see if they would honor it belatedly and, lucky for me, they did!

The starter arrived while I was out of town, but as soon as I got back I eagerly followed the feeding instructions that it came with. First you added 1/4 cup lukewarm water to the jar with the starter in it to loosen it up before putting it in the crock. Once there you add 1.25c water and two cups unbleached APF. Stir it and let it sit for 8-12 hours.

Starter with 1.5c water and 2c flour.

Pretty sure mine sat for longer than 12 hours and looked like this when I returned to it:

After first rest.

The instructions said it should expand and start to become bubbly. Check and check. Next up you stir it and discard half which “brings the acidity to the proper level.”

Then you mix in another .5c water and 1c APF and let it sit for 2-4 hours (until it shows bubbles again). Again I think I let it sit longer.

When that rest is done you feed it again with .5c water and 1c APF and let it sit at room temp for 2-4 more hours at which point it can be used or refrigerated.

Before final rest.
Very ready to use!

So I decided to use it that day to test out one of the recipes that came with the starter instructions: Rustic Sourdough Bread.

The starter itself was so spongy and stringy it was a fun texture!

It was a pretty straightforward recipe. Kneading the ingredients into dough:

Letting it rise to double in size:

Shaping the dough into two loaves and letting them rise an additional hour (mistake here, I should’ve let then rise on separate baking sheets).

Now this is where I feel like I started to get off track. It said to spray the loaves with lukewarm water, but I’m used to making steam in the oven itself. Oh well! We further deviated from my expectations woth the instruction to cut two deep diagonal slashes in each loaf with a lame or serrated knife. I feel like this just sort of deflated the dough…

But I know that’s an important step, so it’s ok.

So into the oven they went “until deep golden brown.” I think my silicone mats may have had an impact on the baking because the tops were light brown as the bottoms were beginning to char a bit. They also looked pretty dull/not shiny. Not sure what I could do about that… more steam?

But in truth they tasted good and that’s the key measure! We made baby grilled cheeses with the bread and some nice Cabot cheddar we had. Yum!

Now I’ve got the rest of my starter chilling in the fridge (literally) and I feed it once per week. I am far from an expert- sometimes it looks dry and like it hasn’t expanded much, other times it is super bubbly and fresh, but at least it is active and living! Only time will tell how long I can keep it going!

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