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Old 04-19-2004, 04:00 PM   #1
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Sourdough

Years ago I baked all of the family bread using a recipe my mother developed and got to be quite good at it. Wanting to expand my horizons I tried innumerable sourdough recipes without pleasing success. So of course the correct path was to buy up a library of books on the subject of bread making of all kinds and saturate my mind with knowledge.
After doing this I discovered that still all I could successfully make was alcoholic bread. I have used the "capture the wild yeasties" method as well as the many packaged yeast methods, using stone ground bread flour from a reputable local mill, and have been able to produce is a starter that would make any moonshiner proud. Of course the bread from such a start is horrible and unfit for consumption exept by said moonshiner. So I gave up. Anyone know what I am doing wrong?

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Old 06-07-2004, 08:51 AM   #2
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Sourdough Bread

I'm not sure exactly what is going wrong with your recipe, but here is my tried and true recipe for sourdough.

Sourdough Bread

5 to 6 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. milk
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 1/2 c. Starter (recipe follows)

Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast in a large bowl. Combine the milk and margarine in a saucepan and place over low heat until liquid is warm. Margarine does not need to melt. Add to dry ingredients gradually and beat for 2 minutes with electric mixer at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add starter and 1 cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf and place in 2 greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Bake in 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Starter:

2 1/2 c. unsifted flour
Sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast

Combine 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, and undissolved yeast in a bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups warm water gradually and beat for 2 minutes with electric mixer at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 4 days, stirring down daily. To reuse Starter, add remaining flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water and beat for 1 minute with electric mixer at medium speed. Cover and let stand until ready to make bread again, stirring down daily.
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Old 06-13-2004, 12:10 PM   #3
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Just a hunch, but perhaps you as letting your starter go too long. I've found itdevelops that strong alcolic odor if kept too long without feeding and stirring.

I've had good success by mixing equal parts ( 1 cup) of flour and water with a pkg of dry yeast in a ceramic bowl and letting it stand up to 72 hours. Removing the towel and smelling the product during that time will enble you to determine its optimum degree of fermentation..

I find maintaining starter continuously to be a nuisance, so I start a fresh batch whenever I make sourrdough bread.

Note that alcohol is one of the two major products of yeast action on starches and sugars, the other being the carbon dioxide that makes the dough rise. So alcohol will be in any starter. It is evaporated completly in the baking process, of course.
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Old 06-13-2004, 04:38 PM   #4
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There lies your problem.sourdough starter is like a fine wine,which only improves with age.I'm sure you have heard of how miner's kept this product and valued it like liquid gold.The small time it takes to "feed" it is minor when you get a hot, delicious, crusty piece just oozing with creamy butter,and for that added treat,make the butter.cream with or without a dash of salt.You don't need a churner,a mixing bowl on a stand works fine,and just beat the cream,squeeze any whey out and there.
If you still feel that you want a fresher starter,buy a commercial made starter,follow instructions,and let it mature for awhile,feeding now and then.
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Old 06-13-2004, 08:05 PM   #5
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After feeding the starter for months, then mixing and kneading the dough by han, then churning the butter, that dam' bread had BETTER be good!!! :D :D

Seriously, Red, I have devoured a lot of sourdough French - including the famous San Francisco varieties when in Frisco on too many occasions. And I find my sourdough, made with my three day starter, is every bit as good, maybe even a tad better.

Sourdough didn't start with our miners here in California. They got the name from the use of an aged yeast culture, not having the convenience of a supermarket nearby. It was almost certainly the original means of maintaing yeast for leavening centries before refrigeration, etc.`



The nice thing about it is that is does, indeed, impart a great flavor to what is otherwise a rather bland bread.

Many Italian bread recipes call for a biga (spongre, starter) ranging in age from a few hours up to 72 hours. In trying those, I find a notieable diffeence in flavor for each day, using otherwise the same recipe.


P.S. I, too, am at the legal age to drink (thank goodness) and have been for 57 years! :)
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Old 06-15-2004, 05:11 PM   #6
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Made a sourdough loaf this morning. Used my version of starter - three days. It had a pleasant, clean sour-yeasty aroma.

Simple white bread - starter, flour, saltr, milk, egg, sgar - semi-stiff dough. Single rise to about four times initiall size. Brushed with egg wash, slit top. Baked 375 for 35 minutes, cold oven. Spritzed with water twice during baking.

Came out great! Crisp, rich brown crust, not too thick. Light and airy texture. Fine, mild sourdough flavor. I'm pleased as punch!

Two generous slices, some italian cheese, and a glass of Chardonnay made up my delicioous lunch! :) :)
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Old 07-24-2004, 03:43 PM   #7
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I haven't been around for months and now see so many new names. Welcome to all. Great to find Kitchenelf, Dove and Oldcoot still around. Oldcoot, you're the bread expert. I bake regularly and love making biga or sourdough without adding yeast. Flour & water & 3 days does the trick. But I need your help. Please advise ratio of flour to water for ciabatta!. Thanx
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Old 07-24-2004, 05:06 PM   #8
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Sourdough

Welcome back Maws..been a long time. Hope things have gone well for you.
Marge~Dove :D :D
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Old 07-26-2004, 08:40 PM   #9
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Mas, Ciabatta is as much a mystery to me as to anyone. I can't find anything that suggests it is any different from ordinary white bread, except that the dough is much softer - stick, even - and it's shaped sort of slipper-like.

I continue to be open to any informatin anyone has on the subject.
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Old 07-27-2004, 02:24 PM   #10
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Thanx Oldcoot. Yesterday I tried and started a sourdough (biga or poori) the previous evening with ½ tsp yeast, just less than a cup of water and about 325 ml flour. So in the morning (this had risen beautifully) I added about 3/4 tsp yeast, 1 cup water and 3 cups flour. Some salt. It was a very messy business kneading this slack dough, but eventually it seemed to come together.
But when it was ready for the oven I really had problems. You actually need one of those wooden scoops that they use for pizza ovens. It's impossible to lift the loaves. But I'd allowed them the second rising on a large chopping board and somehow maneuvred them off into the baking pan.
After all the schlepp they turned out beautifully. The taste was really good. I would have liked a crisper, more chewy crust, but I believe that this is almost impossible without steam-ovens. However, I did have a pan of boiling water on the floor of the oven for the first 15 minutes.
Oh yes, I did add about a teasoon of olive oil, but that was only a covering for the sourdough and later it was kneaded into the rest of the dough. I heated the oven to 500 and lowered it to 425 once the bread was in the oven.
Do try it - it's really worth the effort.
Maws
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