[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Sourdough Bread Redux
29 August 2018

I finally got around to reading Michael Pollan's book Cooked. It left me a bit cold (so to speak). Although I agreed with almost everything he said, the way he said it annoyed me. There is something about his style and authorial voice in this book that grated on my nerves. However, the section on sourdough contained one bit of information that I found interesting. Some of the sourdough gurus referenced in the book recommend using what seem like insanely high amounts of water in their breads - in some cases as much water as flour. My sourdough bread is very dense and I'd been experimenting with adding some extra liquid to try to get a little extra rise. Apparently 'some extra' might not be enough. A lot extra might be worth trying.

I wasn't expecting a miracle rise, of course. My sourdough bread for the last four or five years has been made with a 1:1:1 ratio of oats:white flour:whole wheat flour. (Although usually I use what is sold over here as 'brown flour' or 'half-and-half bread flour.' That reduces the number of different kinds of flours I have to keep in the cupboard.) With 1/3 of the dry ingredients being oats, I'm not expecting a light and fluffy bread. Something a little lighter than I'd been getting would be nice.

So I more or less doubled the amount of water. This means that I no longer had what I would, at first glance, call a dough. I had a batter. I also had a visibly higher rise than I had before and a somewhat chewier texture. I'm calling that a success.

I'm now experimenting with one more change in the protocol. My usual recipe now rises enough that the dough - let's go ahead and call it dough - reaches the top of the loaf tin. That's not good since it touches the covering piece of cling film and sticks to it. So I'm going to try using a pot with a lid. This has higher walls, and will also let me play around with baking it with the lid on or off and seeing what I find.

Further updates as the situation warrants.

(Oh, and I wrote earlier about sourdough bread.) [Lots of pictures]

Sourdough Bread, Mark III

Mix the starter with 1 cup each of white flour and water, set aside to proof for an hour or two. If you don't have any starter, you might know someone who will give you some. Otherwise, you can make your own. Mix roughly equal amounts of flour and water, put a permeable covering on it - a tea towel or something. Let it sit around for a few days or weeks until it starts to bubble. You might need to add water if it starts to dry out.

In any case, when your mixture has proofed and started to bubble a bit, add the other ingredients. I never measure the salt and oil, I just toss a bit in. Mix it well with your fingers, or even a wooden spoon. Oil or grease a loaf tin and put your batter into it. Cover it with some cling film. Let it sit for eighteen or twenty-four hours, or thirty-six ... a good long time. If I start it noonish, I certainly don't bake it until the next day, and sometimes not until the day after that.

Bake for 50 minutes at 175C (350F). Or a little longer or a little higher heat if that doesn't do the trick.

© 2018 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite