Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sourdough SUCCESS! It rose!

So the missing ingredient was . . . sugar!  I looked at a couple of websites on getting sourdough to rise (regular, not gluten-free like I did) and I found some helpful suggestions:
  • add sugar to the starter
  • only add a tiny bit (but don't skip it) of salt
  • leave the starter/sponge out in a bowl overnight (I covered it with a towel)
  • cover the bread when it's baking at 450 degrees for the first half hour, then uncover for the last 15 to 30 min.
I once again did not measure, but I used the following ingredients:

starter (I added some of the flour and let it sit overnight)
oat flour
brown rice flour
little bit of sweet sorghum flour
little bit of flax meal
2 eggs
baking powder
a few teaspoons sugar
pinch salt (1/4 teaspoon?)
pinch xanthum gum (to make it stick together, gluten-free)

Today's loaf makes a hard knock on the outside, and a soft, moist inside.  It rose this time, which is a first really, and I attribute that to the addition of the sugar.  I didn't add enough flour to where it was kneadable, I left it pretty moist and used a spoon for my "kneading" and to transfer it to the bread pan.  I poured the starter into a bowl last night, turned on the oven till it was a little warm then shut it off, and put the bowl in the oven with a damp towel overtop. 

In the morning I added all of the other ingredients (including the eggs) and then stirred the mixture in the bowl and let it sit for about 2 to 3 hours.  Then I transferred it to a buttered loaf pan and let it sit another 1 1/2 hours in the slightly warmed oven with a towel overtop.  I covered it with a glass lid that almost fit for the first 1/2 hour and let it bake uncovered for the last half hour.

If interested in replicating this, you will be pleased to find that I intend to measure and post the measurements next time!  :)  The only part I will not be measuring is the starter.  That you just need to play around with (like I did) and try to get it to bubble. 

Just put one part flour, one part water in a jar.  Add a few teaspoons of kefir (I use dairy kefir) and a pinch or two of sugar.  2 to 3 times a day add more flour and water (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup, rotate between buckwheat, sorghum, brown rice or sweet brown rice, oat, etc.--I really like the texture of my flours and I have been grinding them myself with a coffee grinder for about 30 seconds (buy one that holds as much as possible if you plan to get one for this purpose)).  If your starter doesn't seem active enough you can add a little sugar or kefir to the starter.  Stir with wood or plastic when you add the flours.  Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions! 

Obviously if you can eat wheat use at least mostly whole wheat flour and this will taste unbelievable.  You would want to add enough flour to knead yours.  And you can skip the xanthum gum.  Lucky you!

For you gluten-freers, this is a great loaf.  Way better than what you buy in the store, and it keeps like wheat bread.  Great for eating fresh with butter and jelly or for toasting.  Happy baking!

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