Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tweaking my methods

I haven’t written about sourdough bread in for forever, I know. It’s not that I’m not making bread, because I am. It’s just that I’ve said pretty much all I want to say about it. I’m fairly stable in my bread-baking routines, and stability is boring when it comes to writing.

My bread-baking routine is as follows. About once a month I get my starter out of the fridge and feed it for a day. The next day I bake two loaves, and I double the amount of starter so that the following day I have enough starter to bake six loaves. Depending on our need, freezing space, and my schedule, I may bake another six loaves on day three, or I may make bagels or some other specialty bread. Then the starter goes back into the fridge and I forget about it for several weeks.

Despite the lack of creativity, I do tweak my methods once in a while. I’ve read about all different kinds of sourdoughs and all different baking methods, and what I’ve learned has led me to suspect that sourdough bread is very forgiving and that rigorous schedules needn’t be followed to the letter in order to make good bread. So this last time I baked, I decided to shake my system up a bit and try something new. I mixed up a batch of country white bread (with some whole wheat thrown in), but instead of proofing it in the fridge overnight, I let it rest in the fridge for only a couple hours before pulling it out and allowing it to proof at room temperature for another couple hours before baking. It turned out lovely—sourdough bread in one day.

I’m not going to be updating this blog much anymore (that probably goes without saying), choosing instead to pour all my energies into the main blog, but I’m leaving this up as a resource. Which is all it really is anyway.

Happy baking!