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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

It Took Me About 3 Weeks to Get It Right

this is sourdough bread, made completely without yeast

For the first 3 weeks of eating my homemade sourdough, our loaves looked something like this -- flat, chewy, and quick to become stale.

from one of the early loaves of sourdough
Then, after some research and reading, I hit upon a technique that enabled my sourdough to get a good rise and develop a smooth texture. For the last couple of weeks, this is what my sourdough bread has been looking like.

sourdough success
This looks like a regular yeast bread, doesn't it? The texture is soft and smooth on the inside and the bread keeps for several days in the pantry. The dough contains some of my starter (which was made with just flour and water), water, flour, 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar. That's it.

You know the saying. . .
if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.


15 comments:

  1. Looks beautiful and I'm sure it's delicious! I absolutely love sourdough, and had gotten mine pretty decent last year prior to needing to go gluten-free. One of those things I miss at times. Great job on persevering and getting it just right!

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  2. I think they both look delicious. I am imagining the first slice toasted and it seems to good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      the taste was good on the first batches, but toasted the edges became quite hard -- like melba toast. It was still edible, though. When the first set of "good "loaves came out of the oven, though, we were all impressed with how good sourdough can be.

      Delete
  3. The loaf looks gorgeous! Will you be sharing "the technique"? I have not yet dared to use only sourdough starter in a loaf without also using just a bit of yeast. I have a very good starter that I have been using for at least 10 years but still scared to try it without the yeast. I have some very good loaves with that starter. My technique is to let it rise twice before putting it into the pans for a third rise. And I use cracked wheat and lots of whole wheat flour.

    Alice

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alice,
      allowing it to rise a couple of times will really help, as I found time to be one of the key factors, after extended kneading. The kneading transformed the consistency of the dough enough that I knew something was different about the batch from the first ones.
      My thoughts are this: try reducing the yeast that you are usually adding and increase the kneading time by 3 or 4 minutes and see if you like the loaves. Then each time, reduce the yeast just a little more. I'll post exactly what I've been doing and why I believe it helps in a day or two. I'm dealing with severe exhaustion this week. But I do want to share how making sourdough changed for me.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Hi Frugal in the USA,
      I'll post the changes that I made and why they're important in a day or two. Thanks for asking.

      Delete
  5. Are you still in lockdown Lili? Where I live in PA on Friday we can meet in groups of 25 people but we are just seeing my daughter and her husband. I want to wait a few weeks to see if the virus explodes again. We are 6 deaths and around 200 cases but we need to be careful because of my husband. I was only in a grocery store on April 4 but had a doctor's appointment on May 4 and stopped at a meat shop that day. Felt so weird. Will try and shop the end of next week, it is time. My poor daughter has been shopping for us.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl,
      We can meet in groups no larger than 5. And I don't know if that means we can have 5 non-household members over, or if it's max of five unless your household is already larger than 5. But if it's the latter, then we still can't get together with my son and daughter-in-law.

      My town has over 300 cases and 24 deaths and the town where I shop has had double the cases with about half recovered. Our county has the second highest case load of the state. Even so, Washington state pales in comparison to the states on the east coast. There is still so much that is being discovered about this virus. Even if my odds of recovering are good, I still don't want to get this. And of course, there's my husband to think of. This virus would likely be especially hard on him.

      I've gotten 2 pick-ups for groceries and had some shipped this past month from Walmart.com. The pick-ups have worked well, only a couple of mistakes and they were handled over the phone to my satisfaction. But with the yeast -- the local restaurant supply has been sold out of the large bags for 2 months (that's the most affordable way for me to buy yeast). I've read that yeast should be back on store shelves in the next couple of weeks, though.

      I know what you mean -- I feel like I need to go inside a store to properly shop. That's so wonderful that your daughter has been able to do this for you. My guess is she was glad to do this and reduce your and your husband's risks. good luck!

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  6. What gorgeous bread! Yes, I do consider bread to be a thing of beauty. :) We would have liked both loaves--I guess we aren't too picky around here. Looking forward to your breakdown on making the sourdough.

    I bought a pound (!!) of yeast yesterday at Gordon Foods (Alice, I think you were the one who put me on to that). They were well-stocked with yeast. The price was under $4. So while I haven't been seeing yeast in the standard grocery stores, I think it is becoming more obtainable.

    Lili, I took my daughter today to a garden in our downtown area--it's patterned on a Monet garden with a bridge and so on. Your pictures of your tulips remind me of what it was like to be there today. The tulips were gorgeous and she and I had a wonderful time taking in the beauty.

    Hope you feel better, Lili.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kris,
      Thank you. I'm working on it. I just hit a wall last week. Today I awoke with a sinus infection.

      Great find on the yeast! I'm still waiting for our restaurant supply to get the big bags in stock. I've been seeing the small jars come and go on Walmart's website. So, I think you're right in that we should be seeing more and more yeast in stores soon.

      Your trip to the garden sounds so lovely. I'm glad you could go out and enjoy the beauty.

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  7. I took a quick trip to Horrock's to look for a potted plant and I also stepped inside to take a peek around. I saw 50 lb. bags of whole wheat flour and a lot of bulk yeast. I have never seen or known them to sell flour like that before. I'm not even sure they ever sold bulk yeast but there were pallets of flour. I didn't need that this time around because I have gone to the Amish store lately to get my flour there. Yes, Kris, that was me that told you about GFS. One thing they don't have is whole wheat flour nor unbleached flour. At least not at my local store. I have enough yeast and flour to last a while!

    Alice

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alice,
      that's good to hear that your stores have such a good supply of yeast and flour. I really do think this situation with the baking ingredients will resolve shortly.

      Delete
  8. Lili, I admire your persistence and determination. Over a lifetime, it makes all the difference. A break now and then is well deserved, and good for recharging your batteries!!

    Take care

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    Replies
    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you. Stress is a killer, that's for sure. For me, lasting stress simply wipes me out. I need to find a way to deal with stress, better.

      Delete

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