I might have mentioned a while back that one of the goals I set when I retired from the workforce was to learn how to make real sourdough bread. I sort of dabbled in sourdough for a while and learned how to make absolutely yum sourdough English Muffins, but before I could really jump into making loaves of lovely artisan sourdough, summer arrived and I didn’t feel much like baking. I put my jar of sourdough starter in the fridge planning to bake with it when fall arrived.
Then disaster struck. My jar of sourdough starter was destroyed in a kitchen mishap. If I was going to ever make sourdough anything again, I would have to make a brand new batch of starter from scratch. It had taken a long time for my first batch of starter to develop the sour tang I desired. I considered just giving up on sourdough baking. Then I discovered Breadtopia!!!!
Breadtopia is an online business which sells bread baking supplies, and also has video tutorials on bread baking techniques. They also sell live and dried Sourdough Starters. I purchased a package of their live starter; and, it was so easy to use and so very much better than my original starter that I have begun to think that the mishap that destroyed my original jar of sourdough starter was an epic good thing.
You just scrape the glump of dough they send you from the package into a bowl, add water and flour, stir it all up cover it with a loose bit of plastic, leave it on your kitchen counter, and in two or three days, you have a vigorous sourdough starter that smells exactly like a loaf of San Francisco sourdough bread.
I now have a new jar of starter in the fridge. Some dedicated sourdough enthusiasts believe that giving a name to your sourdough starter is proper protocol, so I named my jar of sourdough stater Shewanda 2013. I have no idea how that name came to mind. I rather like the sound of it, though.
Anyways, my very first loaf of 100% sourdough leavened bread made with my Shewanda starter is presently in the refrigerator in a wicker bread proofing basket undergoing a slow rise to develop a bit more tang. Tomorrow I will bake it and take a photo or two of the loaf and report back on how it went.
As I never do a how to make it blog when I can direct you to sites that already present the information in a manner superior to anything I could produce, here are a few sites that can teach you everything you could want to know about the art of making artisan breads:
Northwest Sourdough. Teresa Greenway’s website. My goal is to bake breads as beautiful as hers are. This site has everything you need to learn how to make excellent sourdough breads. She has lots of video instructions on a number of bread related techniques. I have learned tons from this site and I keep going back to learn more. An added plus, Teresa also sells a variety of sourdough starters she has acquired over the years from other sourdough bakers all over the world….
The Fresh Loaf. This is a baker’s paradise of a site. I joined this site a few years ago, and visit it regularly. If you want to learn how to make basic bread or really complicated bread you can find something on this site to help you learn how. Lots of technique videos and the forum members are all so nice. No question I asked as a newbie bread baker was treated with disdain. Instead, there were lots of helpful suggestions and support for my efforts. Every time I visit this site I learn something new….
Wikipedia contains an excellent article on sourdough. Lots of biology and chemistry info as well a bit of history related to sourdough. Did you know that sourdough originated around 1500 BC in Egypt, and was probably the first form of leavening used by bread bakers? Wikipedia never lets me down…….