Two Ad Lib Breads made with Sourdough
The other day when I was refreshing my starter I decided to make some ad lib bread, on the fly, since I needed some bread to eat. Didn't even think to take many pictures as I went about it. Guess I wasn't thinking it would turn out. No recipe was followed. And so far, nothing good ever comes of that.
Bread Number 1:
I took 1 c of my rye starter discard, 1 c of rye flour, 1 c of water, and 1 c of that spelt flour that I'm trying to use up because it isn't whole grain. I let it sit overnight, about 8 hours. It was showing some decent signs of fermentation when I arose.
In the morning, I added 1 more cup of spelt flour, 1/2 c of water, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. An hour later, it was bubbling a bit, so I folded it in the container.
At the 2 hour mark, I formed it on the counter, atop what looked to me like about 3/4 tsp of kosher salt (I didn't measure it), and I plopped it in a buttered tin.
Then I planted my tomatoes in the garden.
Two hours later, I was due to fall asleep during the day, since I'm still working the night shift. So I preheated the oven, painted the top with a milk and water glaze, and stuck it in the oven. I asked my wife if she would mind taking the loaf out of the oven when she heard the beep, and I crawled under the covers.
It baked at 400 degrees F with a pan of steam, and covered with a roasting pan, for 45 minutes.
That was the loaf that turned out okay. I took some pictures of it out on the deck, in between rain showers.
Bread Number 2:
The other loaf was made similarly from the seed of a discard, but the ingredients and times were different.
Here I used only 1/4 c of my whole wheat sourdough, originally with 2 c of water and 2 c of whole wheat flour. This was left overnight.
This morning, I added 1 1/2 c of whole wheat flour, and folded it in to incorporate it. At various times during the day before I fell asleep, I also folded it in the container.
I had the thought that it might be better to refrigerate this dough because I wasn't going to be able to get to it, but then I rejected that thought, thinking I might be able to bake it when I awoke.
When I awoke in the afternoon, the dough had tripled in volume, but it seemed quite wet to handle. I plopped it on the counter and added some salt, and did my best to form it. It was like handling frog jelly -- but it did still have some gluten elasticity. Still, the proteases in the whole wheat flour must have done their job on it, and when I finally plopped it into the buttered tin, it looked to me like it was just going to unwind everywhere.
I was afraid I'd missed my chance with this bread: I'd left it too long. Now I had to let it proof, and bake it, before I left for work. There was a time crunch here. There wasn't enough time for this dough to rise in the pan and be baked before I had to leave. That's life. I sacrificed the time it spent proofing.
I let the dough sit for an hour in the tin, then preheated the oven to 410 degrees F. This loaf baked for 40 minutes.
The rye and spelt loaf smells quite sour. I'm not surprised, I used quite a bit of sourdough to make it, and the sourdough I used to make it with was quite old. I've slice into it, but haven't tasted it yet. I'll have some in the middle of the night at work, and report back later.
The other loaf looked like it wanted to rise, but I didn't really let it.
I can certainly see evidence of wild yeast activity in the crumb. When sliced, it will hold some jelly that has not set well, or runny honey -- one of my wife's tests for a good bread.
It is, however, a bit too sour for her taste, I think. For me, I don't mind it: the taste is still sour, but much milder than the other loaf. It is a loaf with character. For an ad lib bread, I'm happy enough with the result for now. Possibilities are beginning to present themselves.
Notes to Myself
- You better start making some decent breads, your wife is becoming mutinous.
- Despite the fact that you have been a nurse for many years, working the night shift every so often really throws your whole body, and its relationship to the wild yeast and baking cycle, off completely. You have yet to find the perfect balance between working and eating! That can't be a good thing.