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Well, my sourdough experiment didn’t work. I had such high hopes for it!
When I mixed up the dough today and left it to rise, it didn’t rise very far before it started to crack. It was sitting for several hours, but I was concerned it would dry out too much. I preheated the oven and baked it.
Yuck. It smelled good, and the first bite tasted ok. But it was too dense, the crust was too crunchy, and was way too sour.
I’ve been trying to figure out where I went wrong with it. Some things I think should be fixable. The others will probably take more experimentation.
After my sourdough rose so much the first few days, I dumped off most of the liquid that had formed. That might have been my first mistake, because after that, my starter barely rose at all. I considered dumping the starter and starting over, but figured I’d keep feeding it to see how it did. Now I’m thinking I should’ve just tried again. Oh well.
The really dense texture I know was caused by not enough rise time. That’s easily remedied. Maybe covering the dough with plastic wrap next time will help with it not drying out so quickly.
The really crisp crust I think was caused by over baking it. That doesn’t make sense to me. The instructions I followed said to bake it at 350 for an hour. Most breads I bake at 350 for a half hour, so I checked the bread at 20 minutes. Firm crust, soggy middle. I put it in for 20 minutes more. Crisp crust and still a soggy middle. I took it out at that point because I was afraid of how crunchy the finished loaf would be.
The sourness I knew would be a gamble. I now know that we don’t like our bread quite so sour, and will work on making a thicker starter as Laura described.
So now I have three loaves of very sour sourdough bread that I’m not sure what to do with. Stephen said to slather it with butter and jam and eat it that way. I’m wondering if it’s good for much more than croutons. If only we ate croutons more often (almost never around here!). Anyone have any suggestions? There’s so much flour invested in it that I’d hate to just throw it out.
That said, I’m debating how long to wait to try making the starter again. I kept this starter, but I’d like to try starting from scratch to see if the outcome is any different. I sure hope so. The bread smelled SO GOOD baking that it’d be a shame to not be able to figure out how to make it the right way!