Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sourdough Bread. . . . . will I, won't I?

Not certain I'll be making a lot of sourdough loaves in the future.
Yes, this first one turned out very well but what a lot of extra work and 
waiting time compared to the No-Knead easy bread (which is awesome).

My journey making the starter was hilarious, a week of feeding, waiting,
stirring. . . . . . and cleaning up when 'Irish" (the name I've given it) discovered 
bubbly freedom on two occasions and flowed out of the large jar and
over the kitchen counter. Actually after the first time I had enough sense to
stand it in a large bowl which helped collect the awesome yeasty mess.  
Quite amazing that just flour and water can be so full of life and, when
contained and divided in half, keeps on growing and bubbling as long
you feed daily to strengthen it. I used just the 1/4 cup required in the
bread recipe, then halved what remained and it's sitting in the refrigerator 
calmly sleeping now - until I bring it out, feed it again and get baking. . . . perhaps!

My bread baked evenly and the crust was so crispy when taken from the oven. 
There were a few larger holes compared to the No-Knead bread, and the crumb
 was a little dryer. Quite honestly I did not get a strong sourdough flavor. It toasts
up well but seems a bit harder and crunchier - great though with good butter
 and my favorite Scottish marmalade.

I'm almost certain I will try another loaf jut to see if I can improve it a bit - perhaps
 I was a bit heavy-handed with my kneading.  
Now that the long week plus of growing the starter is over, readying it again for
another loaf should just take a few hours. This recipe requires 8-10 hours
 overnight for the bulk rising though so altogether making a sourdough loaf is
 really a two day job. Compared to the quick No-Knead bread, I'm not sure I
want to commit to endless days in the kitchen!

Beautiful chilly but sunny Sunday morning here.
I baked southern buttermilk biscuits at 7:30 am, mostly for my 
neighbors who have a special visitor from Florida.
Later today I plan to make a pot of vegetarian black bean chili (really just
frijoles negros) for a fireside evening watching PBS.  
Jane Austen's final (and unfinished) novel Sanditon is lovely and filmed
 in countryside and seaside close to my heart in southern England. 
Just enough, romance, fortune hunters and heartbreakers, along
 with beaches, farmland and grand balls to keep everyone intrigued.


  1. I had to have a little laugh at the thought of your dough escaping to freedom!

  2. You and my blogging buddy Rosella at Rhubarb and Roses are having similar discussions these days. 😊 I think I’d like to try the first loaves you made and not even consider the sour dough bread.

  3. Your sourdough bread looks beautiful - especially for the first try! I think I told you my mom is kind of an expert on making sourdough bread. Her loaves at the beginning turned out terrible. Sourdough bread baking is an art - and it takes a long time and a lot of tries to get it just right. She was determined to get it "just right" and she baked loaf after loaf after loaf. So, I don't know if you want to give it that much time and effort or just forget it. ;-) One of the best bonuses of sourdough bread over "regular" bread though, is that it's much better for your digestive system. Sometimes even celiacs can eat sourdough bread!

  4. The bread looks wonderful! I think I will stick to the easy no knead one :-)

  5. That looks very nice to eat, could I make it in my Breadmaker

  6. Dear Mary,
    That is a fine looking sour dough bread. Maybe you can try sour dough pancakes for next Sunday morning?

  7. The bread looks very appetising, and I hope you will experiment a bit more on sourdough loafs until you are perfectly happy with the result.

  8. It looks pretty delish to me! Although, the no-knead bread has become everyones favorite here at home. xx

  9. I have thoroughly been enjoying Sandition and wondered about the location shots.
    Your bread looks wonderful. Jim use to feed a sour dough starter and make bread regularly. Now we go to the market when we need a sour dough loaf. Oh do I love sour dough bread, a real weakness to my expanding waist, especially if there is a good butter slathered on.

  10. Hello Mary, I'm new to your lovely pages. Sanditon was my televisual viewing pleasure for last week, so I can confirm you're going to be in for a treat! As for you quite delicious looking sourdough loaf, I've gone through the same journey you've taken - a fair bit of fussing and determination to get onto the sourdough bandwagon, resulting in some quite nice loaves and experiments with using the leftover starter, but I'm far happier with the overnight no-knead loaf at the end of the day. No mess or waste and you can fancy it up with seeds and whatnot, and indeed I've found that half of the yeast gives exactly the same result so it satisfies my frugal nature. And the lazy side of me loves that it is truly less than five minutes to get it started!

  11. I've made sourdough off and on for 40 years. The only way I've found to get a very sour flavor is to let the sponge ferment for three days :-) In the last few years it's almost impossible to predict what kind of day I will be having three days from now, and it usually ends up being too busy for me to fully enjoy finishing up the baking. So I'm giving up for the time being. And feel sad about it.


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