Monday, May 11, 2009

No Recipe Bread

I have been trying to make sourdough bread from scratch for over a year now. Let me tell you, this has required a lot of patience.

A slice of sourdough bread is one of my favorite ways to get a hearty dose of carbs. Carbs, you say? Non-vegetable carbs, at that? Aren't those in the penalty box with high-fructose corn syrup? Perhaps, but if something could come along that would one day make sugar look less evil, something will put carbs back on our plates.*

And even if something more evil than carbs does not come along to make carbs look good again, I won't mind. I love pasta and bread as much as ever.**

I want to turn out loaves of sourdough at my whim. The scent of fresh-baked sourdough winds its way into my dreams. I love it that much, but I haven't been able to bake sour sourdough yet.

I have a really lovely sour-smelling sponge in my fridge and I know that it is active and alive. I have tried to make the dough without commercial yeast, a known killer of that tangy sourdough taste. I use ridiculously expensive bread flour, and I do not mix the dough in metal bowls that might warp the flavor.

Yesterday, I gave this sourdough thing another try. My efforts yielded the pretty loaf below, which had the best crumb to date, thanks to my decision not to use commercial yeast (I think). However, the tangy taste I wanted still isn't there. The taste was serviceable, but indistinct. I want "wow" bread, but I been able to bake that kind.

That's why this post is called "No Recipe Bread." I literally have no recipe for the sourdough bread that I want. Can anyone give me some suggestions? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

* I was entertained to learn that the corn syrup industry launched a public relations campaign earlier this year to defend its product.

** In my house, we have one paragon of nutritional virtue and one carb-eating machine. Guess which is which. Steve switched to a low-carb diet two months ago and he looks great. I have tagged along with the low-carb concept at dinnertime, but I get my fix at lunch.


Foodycat said...

I am also a carb-eater at lunch and virtuous at home with the non-carb eater... I love sour dough, but we just don't eat enough bread to bother with our own starter and the whole kerfuffle.

Grace said...

my tried and true sourdough recipe is here, but i'm not sure if our starters are the same or even similar. regardless, it's good stuff. :)