Sour on Sourdough (For Now Anyway)

It’s been a hectic few weeks for me, and my posting load has dropped accordingly. I had a heavy load at work for a while, along with many things to do on the home front. I’ve got a series of updates coming for my booklist, gardening plans and other things, and am hoping for the time to get them out.

Anyway, for the last few weeks I’d been intrigued with the idea of making sourdough bread. I’ve always liked the taste of a good sourdough loaf, and the thought of using the native wild yeasts inhabiting my house was appealing to me.  I’ve taken several cracks at sourdough, both using rye and whole wheat for the starters. While I’ve managed to produce an edible end-product (with one exception), I’ve been less than impressed my the results.

It’s relatively easy to capture the wild yeasts and get a starter going. It’s much harder to keep that starter healthy and tasty. In all cases, my starter has ended up too acidic, which yields and overly-sour loaf of bread. I think to keep a healthy starter going, one needs to give it regular & proper attention, which I was unable to do over the last couple of weeks. I’ll try again at a later date, but for now I’ll stick with conventional store-bought yeast.

I’ve posted several pictures of my latest forays into sourdough on my Flickr page.

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2 Responses to Sour on Sourdough (For Now Anyway)

  1. Liz says:

    You wanna know something funny? I LOVE it when my sourdough gets really sour. If it’s not sour, I feel like I did something wrong. 😉

    I take a very hands-off approach with my starter… mostly about a half cup lives in the fridge, and occasionally I take it out and increase the volume so I have enough for bread. I’ve found that keeping a starter actually encourages me to make the bread. A friend told me that the longer you let it proof, the less sour it will be (this was after I had a couple of not-so-sour loaves).

    Don’t give up, Bart!

  2. Bart says:

    I think the lack of proofing time might be part of my problem… I’m just learning how to make bread, and it may be that I’m trying to walk before I can crawl with regards to sourdough. I’ll take another shot at things, but not for a short while. I think I’ll try making a few non-sourdough loaves just to get more experience with kneading and judging when a bread is ready to bake.

    This link has an interesting article about naturally-leavened breads, and how to get a sweeter loaf out of them:

    http://www.ranprieur.com/readings/natleavbread.html

    I won’t give up… I’ll just take a breather and get to work on some other projects first. Thanks for the encouragement!

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