Monday, August 26, 2013

Call me Ishmael.........Testing sourdough!

On 3rd of May, I started my adventure with natural yeast, also known as sourdough or mother dough.

I must say that in the past I had tried to experiment with this type of leavening but, perhaps because of the short time available to me and for the little attention I paid to the phases of preparation, I had abandoned all after a few days.

This time, I made ​​an effort and after finding the right information on how to produce the first mixture from which would have gone with my sourdough (SOLID), I started my experience in this addictive field.

The first step was to decide with which flour produce the sourdough. Then, after deciding to use organic wheat flour type "0", I have also chose to use honey as starter.

Past experiences have taught me that during the first few refreshments, when the surplus that is obtained is still very acidica lot of flour is "wasted". So I decided to start with a low dosage: 50 g flour, 50 g of water and a half teaspoon of honey.

Waited the canonical 48 hours, keeping the mixture in a jar covered by a towel at room temperature I made ​​the first real refreshment. 
Next time I used 50 g of the previous mixture, 50 g of flour "0" and 25 g of water. 
By continuing to refresh every 24 hours in this way, for 7 days, I got a sourdough that doubled in about 2/3 hours.
At this point, since the acidity of the sourdough was decreased, I began to use the surplus that I had at every refresh, to do some simple bread like Arabic or breadsticks. Continuing with the daily refreshment for another ten days.

All this required a lot of patience, because every day I had to find time to freshen up the sourdough, knead the bread sticks or the Arabic bread, which fortunately, after a night of leavening I could cook the next morning . At such moments I remembered why I left in the previous attempts.


But this time I was determined to finish what I started. After this phase lasting about ten days, achieved a fair degree of maturity and stability of my sourdough, I was able to increase the time between each refreshments.

Now it is about 3 months that I refresh every 4/5 days keeping the sourdough in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. One month after I had started, although I do not consider my sourdough ready to be used to make bread, I began to make new experiments with the "SURPLUS". After a few kilograms of breadsticks and Arabic bread, I tried to do a more challenging bread, even if called "simple bread with surplus of sourdough". With my usual habit to change the recipes that I find, I turned the "simple bread" in "BREAD IN BOX WITH SOURDOUGH SURPLUS"!

The result was nothing short of excellent, even for the flour mix that I used (einkorn-kamut-spelled-rye).

I think that now my sourdough is definitely ready to bake.

For the record, since the tradition of all the home-baker is to give a name to your sourdough. I decided to call my "ISHMAEL" in reference to the character narrating the famous book Moby Dick by Herman Melville.