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Senior Cook
Feb 4, 2003
As I'm sure most of you know, I get a kick out of baking bread.

In the interest of ethnic accuracy - and since the available recipes for specific breads tend to vary greatly - I went to a rather famous (here in L.A.) Italian deli-bakery to look over their bread offerings and see if I coould learn something.

The breads were lovely to look at. No ciabatta or focaccia, darn it! So I bought a loaf labeled "Italian Twist" This was a pretty loaf, made of two rolls of dough entwined, and coated liberally with sesame. I was very surprised at its extremely light weight for a loaf of that size - quite large.

So my lunch today consisted of a half-inch slice, grilled and rubbed with garlic, - a bruschetta - and topped with olive oil, tomato, mozzarewlla, and fresh basil, salt & pepper. I noticed the sandwich was "alright", but not as good as many I've prepared.

hen later I ct a slice of the bread to check it out more critically. Bland! I mean bland to the degree it had almost no flavor at all! Lovely texture - full of holes, light and cottony, wit a soft golden crst. But no flavor!

That sounds like a bread made from highly refined, cheap flour and rushed to the oven with no time to develop any flavor or character. There's no substitute for giving your bread time to mature. Just like people!
Gee, I knew wine and bourbon benefitted from aging and tasted better for it - I must be delicious by now!

As for bread, while I'[m sure you're right, I've made some very good flavored bread in a surprisingly short time. Frankly, I think the loaf was made with only flour, yeast, and water. Sans salt, oil, or anythig else.
Sounds likely. I do think, tho, that developing a good "sponge" and giving it time to develop makes a big difference. I hate buying pretty bread from the store and then finding that it tastes like nothing.

Be careful with preserving/aging yourself with bourbon and wine...you might end up "pickled" :roll: instead of preserved!
I agree that bread made from an aged sponge or biga has fine flavor. But "same day" bread can have good flavor, too - although different.

As for wine and bourbon - "same day" just doesn't work! But both, to be enjoyed for flavor, and not effect (which I detest) should be imbibed in moderation. I have a bar full of fine spirits - "sippin" whiskeys and such. And "sip" them I do - for that wonderfl flavor. Been doin' that for the past half century with no ill effects.

Somebody asked if this old coot is really old. In my mind, no - but it depends on your point of view: 7.7 decades. Old or not?
Perhaps this is a better place for my query...

in San Francisco I had some sourdough that seemed much to sour to me! There were no other flavors - just very sour. That's not the way it oughta be is it?
Flavor, like beauty, is in the eye - tongue of the beholder/taster. Sourdough can be stronlgly "sour" or not, depending upon he baker. Like you, I prefer it somewhat mild, rather than overpowering.

Mkae your own: cup o' flour, cup o' water, pkg of yeast in a bowl covered with a towel for three days. Then make a normal white bread recipe using it as a cup of flour. Cinch!

Hi oldcoot..
can your idea on making the starter be used in a :oops: breadmaker?
Hi Marge. Ironically, there was someone on another group I belong to asking for a starter and bread recipe for the bread machine. I don't use bread machines so I cannot attest to how good this recipe is, but I will post it anyway and maybe you can try it.

Sourdough Starter

2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose or bread flour

In a 2-quart glass bowl, mix yeast and warm water; let stand 10
minutes. Cover tightly with plastic storage wrap and let stand in
warm place for 24 hours. Stir mixture and reseal with plastic
wrap. Place mixture in warm place for 2 to 3 days or until it
bubbles and smells sour. Refrigerate sourdough starter.

After using a portion of the starter, replenish it with equal parts
flour and warm water. Let sit 4 to 5 hours until it bubbles. Store
in glass container in refrigerator.


1. Always make starter in a glass container. Never store it in
metal or use metal utensils. The starter will react to the metal.

2. All ingredients, including the starter, should be at room
temperature. Cold ingredients will slow down the starter's action.

3. When using starter, always replenish it. Let it stand at room
temperature for 4 to 5 hours until mixture bubbles. Seal it and

4. If starter separates, stir until blended before using.


1 1/2 t. active dry yeast
2 2/3 c. bread flour
1 1/2 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 c. sourdough starter
3/4 c. water

Use basic cycle.
Hey, ain't that what I said? :)

Yes, of course you can use the starter in a bread machine. There's only ONE sourddough starter - it's always made from flour, yeast, and water. (Well, not always - read one the other day that called for all kinds of stuff, including vinegar!!!!!

Oldcoot, when you feed your starter do you just use water and flour? I have seen where others say to also add yeast to keep it going, and do you ref. it or leave it out.?
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