CIA type Sourdough Discard Bread
I just noticed that my last post was exorphin junkie's 200th. What is amazing to me is not that I have blogged that much, but that I still continue to have an interest in bread. Well, that and the fact that I still consider myself a complete novice when it comes to making wholegrain breads and understanding bread as a food. There is so much to learn.
With that last post, I realized three things: (1) that I'd been negligent with refreshing my sourdough starters, (2) how much I love the unique and multivariate tastes of sourdough breads, and (3) how much I don't know -- how much none of us know -- about sourdough.
I decided to try to get the starters back into working order by daily refreshes. That means a lot of discards, so the idea was to use the discards up in hybrid breads. A hybrid bread in this case means a bread that uses wild yeast and commercial yeast together.
I'm currently keeping four different sourdough starters in the fridge (which is far too many):
• a whole wheat starter at 75%, to make baking Reinhart's Recipes from "Whole Grain Breads " easier
• a whole rye starter at 75%, to make Reinhart's (and other people's) rye bread recipes
• a whole rye starter at 100% hydration, to make Schöner's recipes from "Brot".
• The last of the sourdoughs that I have is the recent attempt to make Orton's Sourdough bread with my own dried sourdough starter, using Schöner's methods from his book "Brot". (Actually, I should say that I made the dried sourdough using Schöner's methods, but I neglected to follow his methods when I reconstituted the dried sourdough. I just dumped it in water and dissolved it and used it. I found it to be a pretty stinky sourdough, full of lactobacillus bacteria that most other people in my culture would toss in the compost, but nevertheless it made a bread that even my wife liked, using Orton's recipe)
After the first refresh, I found that the two oldest 75% sourdoughs seemed to have the most evidence of fermentation, and the 100% sourdough seemed to be slower out of the gate (but it was still bubbly, and ultimately had the greater promise and quicker recovery). The newest one, the one I used for the Orton recipe, didn't seem to be as viable (although it didn't smell bad anymore), so I have decided, on the second day, to simply toss it.
But I had all this mixture of discards, some rye, some wheat, all with different hydrations. What to do with it?
I made a rye loaf with it. This is an extremely high water content loaf, and a dough that can't really be kneaded or stretched. It can only be poured like batter into a tin. I've made it before several times, always a little bit differently. Basically you use the starter you have on hand like a preferment. In this case, I consider it 90% of the total flour weight, and figure out what to add from that:
• Hodgepodge of Various Starters, hydration unknown: 90% 196g
• Rye Flour 70% 152g
• WW Flour 30% 65g
• Yeast 1% 2g
• Salt 2% 4g
• Water 80% 174g
• Variation: Seeds, 1 TBsp each:
- Millet 14g
- Kasha (Roasted Buckwheat) 12g
- Red Quinoa 13g
- Sunflower Seeds 11g
- Whole Almonds 14g
The dough/batter is so wet, you can stir it up with one finger. What finger would you use?
This was 2 hours in bulk fermentation, then I thought I'd try to fold it.
That didn't work, so I poured it into a pan and let it sit another 2 hours at room temperature.
Just before baking, I tried to brush some yogurt on top, but that didn't work, so I just flung some blobs of yogurt here and there The dough is very delicate at this stage, and that almost ruined it.
I baked it hot, 450 degrees F for 30 minutes, then I brushed some olive oil on top (it looked to me like the top required something at this point), and then I turned the temp down to 400 degrees F for another 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil.
I waited until next morning to slice it. This is a discard bread, and one doesn't have high expectations with such a loaf. Whatever stinky stuff I used, it made the loaf quite sour smelling and tasting, but still edible (to me, but not my wife). The larger seeds and nuts are the only thing that is visible in the crumb, and the crumb shows a fair bit of fermentation happening, despite the starters being old. The bread itself is edible, but it wouldn't win any prizes. I'll make my way through it.
What I don't eat, the chickens will love.
Notes to Myself
- The loaf had some oven spring. I wonder if this was because the bulk fermentation was at a high temperature (2 hrs in the Excalibur Dehydrator on bread setting), and the proof was at room temperature (2 hrs)? The yeast was waking up during the proofing -- it had risen a bit in the pan -- but when it found some warm temperatures in the oven, it shot up further.
Could this be a technique to promote oven spring? (i.e. bulk ferment warm, proof at room temperature)
- You could actually increase the amount of larger seeds in a poured batter bread. Try 3 TBsp of walnuts, for example, along with larger seeds like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
- Smaller seeds like millet and quinoa pretty much get lost in this crumb and in this taste. They add little. You can omit them.
I'm not too sure about the kasha though. It is small, and it usually is pretty strong as a flavour, so you really don't want to add too much. You don't see it in this crumb, and you really don't notice the taste either, but once in a while you get the texture of one. You could try doubling the amount of kasha to see what happens.
- Is it possible, using less hydration, and a more viable starter, to make a rye bread this way that will bake on a stone, or in a closed pot in the oven, a'la Lahey? It has to be able to proof in a basket, that is the criteria. What would the crumb be like in a dough/batter that had its hydration reduced enough to achieve this?