5th try lucky!

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summary: recipe for Jane Mason Wild Bread; 5th try at making not-sour bread using the Jane Mason’s liquid levain; trying a different bread recipe, based on one in “Homemade Sourdough” by Jane Mason; using stronger flour; kneading with ‘slap and fold’ and ‘stretch and fold’ techniques; overnight refrigeration of shaped bread;

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

sourdough bread Let the bells ring out again! Loud and clear! I’m never making sourdough, ever again!

I avoid referring to my naturally leavened breads as sourdough because too many people associate sourdough with breads that are indeed sour in flavor and sometimes leave a sharp, vinegary aftertaste. In France, sour bread is probably considered a fermentation mistake, while in San Fransisco, it’s a well-appreciated taste […] My preference is for complex flavors from the grain and fermentations that are subtle, in balance, and not sour.
-Ken Forkish, “Understanding Levain”, Flour Water Salt Yeast, p.122

That’s right. I’m not going to call that bubbling sludge in the jar in the fridge a “sourdough starter” any more.

Here are its new names: “Levain”, “Wild yeast”, “Natural starter”, “Sludge” and “Pet”. But never “sourdough”. Ever again. Shakespeare was wrong. That which we called sourdough starter was giving our bread the wrong idea when it heard the word “sour”. (continue reading )

4th Try at Mason Bread – such high hopes…

summary: Fourth try at making Wild Bread, based on a recipe in “All You Knead is Bread” by Jane Mason; adding the float test didn’t help; how to know when to shape; how we react under duress, continuing the search for not-sour sourdough but seriously contemplating conceding defeat;

This is the sad and sordid account of our 4th try at Jane Mason Sourdough bread that was supposed to be not-sour. Ha.

sour sourdough And we had such high hopes!

Sourdough bread doesn’t need to taste sour: the longer you take to put your final dough together, the more acidic it will smell and taste. If you like a more acidic taste, select the recipes that take a lot of time to make. If you prefer a less acidic taste, choose recipes that take less time.
-Jane Mason, Homemade Sourdough: Mastering the Art and Science of Baking with Starters and Wild Yeast, p13

I suspect that anyone would find the bread that I made this time round to be quite sour. This morning’s toast was a little like biting into a lemon. Or a pickle. But not as pleasing as either of those.

Clearly, this recipe I’ve been using takes too long to make.

Be patient. Sourdough is very sensitive to temperature. If your starter does not look “right” after the time called for in a recipe – just wait. If your dough has not risen after the time called for in a recipe – just wait. It usually gets there in the end.
– Jane Mason, Perfecting Sourdough

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Essential Equipment for Bread Baking – Revised

Dough Whisk summary: Danish dough whisk; flexible silicone lids; the wonders of digital scales; revised notions of essential equipment for bread making;

I absolutely adore our dough whisk, but… is it essential for bread making?

dough whisk Yesterday, I tried our brand new Danish dough whisk to make Nan-e Barbari and wow wow wow!! I love it. The dough hardly sticks to it. It’s really easy to clean (just whisk it in some water right after using it). But the real bonus is that I no longer have to feel like I’m wearing dough gloves. And I’m really glad that I got the smaller one. Even it feels a tiny bit large for my delicate {cough} hands.

Once you’ve used this dough whisk, you’ll count it as one of your essential baking tools. It’s perfect for mixing heavy dough prior to kneading. Way better than a spoon and much easier to clean. […] [The] smaller version [is] particularly handy for stirring up your sourdough starter.
-Breadtopia, Danish Dough Whisk, Dough Scrapers & Whisks

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Oh boy! Another new toy!

summary: giving in to fashion trends; we have a new toy: a dough whisk;

dough whisk

Late this morning, we rode our bikes up the street to the vegetable store to get lettuce for tonight’s dinner. We thought we’d stop at the kitchen store next door to see if they had dough whisks. They did. The handles were poorly sanded wood and the whisks were huge. And they cost $19 each.

We got back on our bikes and pedalled up the road to the hardware store to look at their dough whisks. Nope. They didn’t have any. They’d never heard of them. :lalala:

Suddenly, we were on a mission…. (continue reading )