Thursday, December 1, 2011

why do birds suddenly appear?

Tipsy may have been the only one who expressed an interest in hearing about the sourdough bread results, but I know she was really speaking for most of you. That's okay--I understand your secret passion for bread research and development. So I will oblige. But first, some sauerkraut: Looks tasty! Did you know that sauerkraut is very good for you? It won't be ready for another two days, though. Let me know if you want to come over and eat some. Behind it you can see my sourdough starter and John's brownish gook which he is taking for his voice, because he is a delicate flower who bruises easily. And if his instrument is damaged that means no new countertop for me.

I let the dough rise for three hours, and that was hugely important, I think. The bubbles were very strong. I think the use of Big J Mill baker's flour was another important detail.
Look at those bubbles! That is gorgeous dough. Previously the windowpane test has mocked me more often than not, but with this dough I could have made a six-foot picture window for my dining room.

I formed it into two loaves and let it rise for another little bit--it was supposed to be a 90-minute rise, but I couldn't let it get that big, since it was already spilling out of the prescribed two loaf pans. Next time I'm using three pans. I baked it at 450* for ten minutes, by which time the loaves had already doubled in size, then lowered the heat to 350* for another half hour. I took the loaves out of the pans for the last 5-10 minutes, because I wanted a good hard crust on the bottom.

The oven spring on this bread was astonishing. I've never seen anything quite like it.
Don't they look like muppets? The crust is amazing; crispy and chewy, and the interior is soft and stretchy. This is unquestionably the best white bread I have ever made--or tasted outside of a professional bakery.
But there is the issue of appearance--I think splitting it into thirds would have helped immensely.

Two days later it is still soft and chewy. I've made slice upon slice of pan toast with it, and it is heavenly. I'm going to gradually switch it over to wheat, at which point I expect to be elected Bread Queen of the House in Perpetuity.

I will post the recipe once I figure out if wheat flour, another teaspoon of salt, and three loaf pans make it the perfect bread for granolas, hippies, helicopter parents, industrial-food conspiracy theorists, and bread pigs. That's a lot of masters to serve. I don't know if I can do it, but I'll give it my best.


tipsybaker said...

I can not wait for this recipe. Will you include the recipe for the starter, too? That bread looks absolutely amazing.

richvm said...

Mmmmm! I really want to try that bread! BTW- I have a really nice sauerkraut recipe, but it's basically canned sauerkraut dressed up with lots of other stuff like apples, potatoes and bacon. I should have known you meant making sauerkraut from scratch. If I lived closer I'd come right on over and taste both!- Jen

Sarah said...

I want that bread. Bad. It's so beautiful, and looks absolutely delicious!
Also...I may need to try John's brownish gook. Does it work?

Melissa Cunningham said...

You would REALLY like my friend's blog. He's in my critique group and is having a book on pioneer foodways and cooking (along those lines) publish by the U of U. Here's the link....


Claire said...

Mmm. That looks like yummy bread. I should try making sauerkraut. Nate's mom used to make it and he loves it.