Monday, May 19, 2008

Back to the Basics

Hi folks,

Here's an update on my bread baking adventures. I showed you a picture of my sourdough starter a while back. I made a loaf of bread yesterday up at Alison's. It was so tasty. Here's a video of me kneading the dough...

Here's what it looked like after the first rising.

Sorry I didn't take a picture of the finished loaf. It was gorgeous.
Anyone have any suggestions for getting the crust to be good and crunchy?

Until next time,
-the compost maven



Sara said...

mmmm - sourdough. I start mine in the mixer with a dough hook, and then do the last 5? minutes or so of kneading by hand. Hmm - tips for crispy crust. Have you tried adding steam to the oven at the start of baking and about 5 minutes into it? I do this by: Spritzing the top of the loaf with water (spray bottle) right before putting it into the oven (450 deg), and tossing 4-5 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven then too. After about 5 minutes, I toss some more ice cubes in. I turn the heat down to about 350 after the first 5-10 minutes too.

I also mix flours - lately it's been 1/2 high gluten white flour, and half spelt flour. Whole wheat graham flour works well too. My basic recipe is a scant cup of starter (maybe 3/4 or 7/8 of a cup - mine is pretty thick - I feed it with a cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water), 2.5 cups of flour plus or minus, and a toss of salt.

Lately I've been playing with doing three rises rather than two - the last batch ended with a bread that had bigger "holes" of air in it.


bicepsgirl said...

Nice guns.

Holly Rae Taylor said...

Hey Sara,

Thanks for the baking tips! I'm gonna try that ice cube trick next time. But tonight I baked granola--my other favorite baking project.


Ian said...

I wonder if sourdough is anything like Irish soda bread - which is flour, water, salt and bicarbonate of soda?

Tips for baking bread with a crunch? Have you tried brushing the top of the bread with milk, beaten egg or olive oil? Or you could sprinkle a bit of salt on the top before you put it in the oven maybe?

I like to knead in some sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (one or all of the 3) into any bread I make and usually sprinkle some on the top before I bake it.

No idea if the above suggestions will work, but it'll be worth a try.

Ian said...

PS, if you want some new bread recipes, try this website:-

Lots of my fave recipes on there. It's British measurements, but it's easy to convert.

Sara said...

yum re granola - share your recipe some time ;)

I'm not sure why my profile isn't hyperlinked to my name - it's

misnomer said...

For a good crumb I use a makeshift cloche. I bake my sourdough on a pizza stone and cover it with an upside down flower pot (I added a eye screw in the hole of the pot to make a handle). You could also use a dutch oven. Same principle as sara noted, moist baking.

kat said...

no, Ian, soda bread is quite different. Sourdough bread is, like the name, very sour in flavor, because the starter ferments.....or something.

now back to lurking...