like everyone else and their neighbor, i decided that #stayathome was a good time to try out my bread skills.
if i had recipes that i created, i would put them here because everyone hates when the recipe is at the BOTTOM of a blog post. i don’t want to know your life story that led you to this moment when you made your go-to frosting for cinnamon rolls, karen. i just want to know what you put in it.
so here are the links to recipes i used for my bread that i’m about to photobomb you with:
ATK rustic loaf (a google book because ATK is behind a paywall, which i should be able to access because i own the print copy good grief)
oatmeal honey sourdough
basic sourdough bread
oatmeal honey non-sourdough (i added a tablespoon of maple syrup to this one)
ok! so here i was browsing twitter and instagram and seeing all these peeps talking about making sourdough bread. being the challenge-oriented person i am, i thought this was something i should try out.
first, you should know that yeast and i generally don’t get along. i get too impatient with it. since i’m an end-of-the-alphabet person, i like my instant gratification. it doesn’t like to rise fast enough for me. i bake it before it’s ready. i get flat bread. you’d think i’d learn, but since i generally don’t like dealing with yeast, i stick to quickbreads (banana bread, pumpkin bread), cakes, pies. i pull out the yeast once a year to make bohemekuchen and that’s it.
so this would be a foray into patience for me. plus, my kuchen this year turned out most excellent, so i was feeling a high.
firstly, i started the sourdough starter.
starter is SUPER easy – it just takes some time. 5 days before i was set to bake the bread, i put a 1-to-1 ratio of flour and water in a bowl and waited. each day, i added additional flour and water, and BOOM those little yeasties took right off.
in the meantime, i was itching to make some bread because that’s what everyone else was doing, so i perusing the good old america’s testing kitchen to see what they had for bread. they had a rustic loaf that i felt i could tackle – it used store-bought yeast, but it started with a SPONGE, which i’d never done before. a sponge is a sort of glorified yeast starter – instead of letting it bloom in water and a little sugar, you also add some flour and let it sit for a while – at least 5 hours.
the rest of the recipe was easy and i let my kitchenaid do a lot of the kneading. i ended up with a halfway decent wheat loaf that i was able to bake right on my pizza stone i have in the bottom of my oven all the time.
ooh fancy! and yummy! the crust was extra crusty and delicious.
by the time i’d had enough of this bread, it was time to attempt sourdough. so here’s where i failed – since i was feeding my starter up til it was go time, i wasn’t sure if i needed to do the “leaven” part of the recipe or just use the starter straight away.
and the first loaf i attempted was a honey oat loaf, which probably wasn’t the best idea. the stretch and pull was awful, and i didn’t get any sort of rise out of the dough. 🙁
i also need proofing baskets if i’m going to attempt sourdough again, as i had to throw this in a bowl lined with a towel dusted with flour, and it still stuck. i might need some different, less sticky dough to dust with. obviously it stuck good.
it was also not very holey at all, meaning no real rise. sure, it was a dense loaf, but you’d think there’d be some rise to it.
BUT it was DELICIOUS. just the right amount of sour, and it wasn’t overpowering like some of the store-bought sourdoughs can be. if i figure out the starter issue and get a real proofing basket, i might try this one again.
but you know me, why stop at one failure and try for another? this time i tried out a plain white sourdough, and it was really promising! the stretch and folder was really working up some gluten and it was looking good! my loaves puffed out after i threw them in my towel-lined bowls, and even after i turned them out into my dutch oven and had to pull away the towel very carefully, i still had hope.
the fun part about baking sourdough is that you bake it in a dutch oven at 450-500º. you keep the cover on for about 20 minutes so it keeps the steam in to create that crusty surface, then you take it off so it darkens up.
mmm, the maillard reaction.
ah, success! this one was holey and sourdoughy, even though it was flat. there was so much gluten and goodness, that it almost ate like a popover – very eggy but without the eggs.
it makes darn good toast with some butter and raspberry jam.
i have two loaves of the plain white, and one’s in the freezer for later! my starter is in the fridge waiting for another round of sourdough after i figure out proofing baskets.
not to be outdone by it’s all-natural counterpart, i decided to give store-bought yeast another go and made an oatmeal-honey-maple loaf (or two). this one started with oats soaked in boiling water and mixed with some honey. i added in a tablespoon of maple syrup for good measure.
the top is melted butter, honey, and maple syrup mixed together. this is a more traditional loaf of bread, though a little bit sweet. this should also make some excellent toast, and i’m putting a loaf of this in the freezer for later.
we’ll see what other breads or baked goods i come up with for this time of covid. now that the governor has extended stay at home for another month, i’ll have lots of time on my hands. and carbs. good thing good running weather is upon us so i can fit into my regular clothes when this is all over!
any ideas or requests on baked goods or cooking you want me to attempt? no, i will not send you macarons, liz.