So. What is the deal with sourdough?
I like making bread from scratch. It is fun and makes me feel all pioneer like. You know, as I knead my dough and tweet about it at the same time. Super pioneer. Well, anyway, I wanted to try my hand at sourdough because it looked kind of challenging and it also happens to be my dear husband’s favorite bread. Since I am not all that awesome at being a housewife, I thought I would try to make sourdough for him. Also making the starter seemed weird and science like, so that looked like fun.
So I dumped one cup of water and one cup of four in a gladware container and stirred. No yeast. I thought it would be fun to cultivate my own as that is how these sourdough diehards on the Internet do it. I left the container out on my counter for a couple days with the lid slightly popped. Each day I added another cup of water and another cup of flour and stirred. Like the sourdough police said on the Internet, it should bubble. And bubble it did. After a few days, it started to smell, well, sour. So I thought, okay, it should be done by now after four days of “feeding” this thing. Seriously, as if I do not have enough things to feed over here.
Anyway, I decided to give it the old college try and use the starter to make a sourdough loaf. I got sort of annoyed in preparation because everywhere I Googled, someone had a different opinion about how to go about making the loaf. First, some sourdough enthusiasts claimed that since I did not refrigerate my starter, it would not work. And others said the lid must remain firmly on. While others said that the lid must be cracked because the gasses or whatever-food-science-thing was going on it there would cause the container to explode. Well, I could not have any more explosions happening over here. Do you not remember last week and the non-stop diarrhea here in Casa Bagley? Well, anyway, I felt defeated before I even made the darn loaf because apparently there are competing beliefs about sourdough.
I had no idea water and flour could cause so many disagreements.
Whatever, I decided what’s done is done, and I just wanted to try this thing. So I poured a cup and a half of the starter into my Kitchenaid mixer along with flour, water, and salt. And I mixed. And it came together nicely. I was thinking I had this inthe bag. That I was going to be some sort of sourdough champion. That all my hard work of feeding that science experiment would be oh, so worth it when I pulled a golden crusted giant sourdough loaf out of the oven.
Triumphantly, I set the dough in a bowl to rise for an hour. And…nothing. So I gave it another 30 minutes…and nothing. Subconciously, I knew this was going to be a disaster. But I decided to be optimistic and convinced myself it rose at least a centimeter or two. I plopped it on a baking sheet and covered it with a tea towel for the second rise. And, much like the first rise…nothing. Just a blob of dough.
No matter, I decided to bake this thing anyway. What did I have to loose at this point? I only slaved over this darn thing for almost a week and tweeted about it and talked about it with Dan for days on end. So I baked that dough. And I ended up with…a sourdough brick.
Okay, so, really, it is edible. And it does taste like sourdough. At least sort of. But it definitely does not look so hot. So disappointing! I had planned to get good at this and bake some for my friends. Because it was my understanding that one continues feeding this beastly sourdough starter indefinitely. No way I could bring my gal pals this sad looking dough thing. Not unless they wanted to give it to their kids to use as a hockey puck.
Okay, so what should I do? I kept the starter and put it in the fridge with the lid cracked. Anyone have any recommendations? Or a good website with easy directions? And I do mean easy. I cannot even do basic math over here. Eventhough I usually quit after failures like these, I want to try again. Also I want to stop wasting bags and bags of flour. Suggestions welcome!