I forgot to mention yesterday that I've settled on "Stinky" as a name for my sourdough. After all that smelly excitement during the first days of fermentation, it seems fitting.
Anyway, after giving Stinky a good feeding Saturday afternoon, he was all set to go on Sunday.
I went with a simple recipe from Ruth Allman's Alaska Sourdough book. Since I'd used one of her starters, I figured I'd give a few of her recipes a whirl also. The recipe is described as "Quick and Easy" – and it was, mainly because of the addition of both yeast and baking soda, both of which gave the sourdough a boost.
First I put 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast in a bowl and added a cup and a half of warm water.
To that I added a cup of the sourdough starter, 2 T of sugar, half a teaspoon of salt, and about 4 cups of the flour.
After that was combined well, I scraped it into a large, greased bowl,
covered it with a lightweight, no-lint towel (I love those)
and let it rise until it had doubled.
Then I whisked together another cup of flour and a half teaspoon of baking soda and started to mix that into the dough (which, at this point, was more like a thick batter than a dough).
I ended up just dumping the whole thing onto the (floured) counter and kneading it for a while.
It was sticky and floppy and goopy at first, but as I worked in that cup of flour/baking soda, and then some of the remaining cup called for in the recipe, it began to transform into a nice, soft, elastic, workable dough.
At that point I divided the dough in half,
shaped it into two balls, and let it rest, covered, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
My only concern about this book is that Mrs. Allman doesn't tell you to let the dough rise after you've shaped it into loaves. In reading the directions, it seems like you just shape it and pop it right in the oven. I was skeptical, so I compromised – I only let it rise for about fifteen minutes. Then I slashed them across the top three times each with a very sharp knife and into the oven they went.
The resulting loaves looked kind of like baby mushrooms
because of the rapid "oven spring" once they went from about 80 degrees (room temp in my kitchen in the afternoon) to 400 degrees.
The bread, however, is a dream.
It's got a soft, tight crumb – almost like pound cake.
And there's a very faint (desirable) sour aroma, which, as Stinky ages, will become more pronounced.
The kids had grilled cheese and tuna sandwiches with the first slices, and Alex in particular REALLY liked the bread. Even though I'd DOZED OFF (which I've never done before and I'm still sort of in shock about it) and slept through the timer going off, so the loaves stayed in the oven a tad longer than I would have liked. The resulting crust is thicker than I'd planned, but that also gave it an old world kind of feel, and while Julia didn't eat her crusts, Alex crunched away with great gusto.
I'll use Ruth Allman's other basic sourdough recipe next – it's an all-sourdough/no additional leavening recipe, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how that one behaves. I'll probably make that tomorrow or the next day, I'm thinking. The two loaves I made yesterday will very likely be gone by then!