Did I say we were getting closer to making not-sour sourdough bread? Well. I was wrong.
Sourdough bread does not need to taste sour. […] If your loaf is ugly you won’t win a prize, but you can still toast it, and sourdough toast is particularly yummy.
-Jane Mason, All You Knead is Bread, p40; p90
Particularly yummy, eh? I bet you anything that nobody wants to try our sourdough toast!
Don’t let looks fool you. What appears to be an almost-success was horrible. The bread was heavy as a rock and the crumb was dense and somewhat gummy. And it stank. It stank like the insides of a stomach (not that I’ve smelled insides of a stomach but I’m guessing the acid level of a stomach’s contents smells like that)
Here’s how things went:
3rd try at making Sourdough Bread using the Jane Mason Method diary:
Remind me to fill you in on our 2nd truly disastrous attempt and T’s quite brilliant (although not the prettiest looking) rescue of the nightmare… But in the meantime, I’ll plunge ahead with the most recent failure.
Whoa!! There are bubbles galore. […]So, now that we had a bowl of bubbles, I decided to throw caution to the wind and take the next step to making bread. […] [Jane suggests using 90g starter, 90g flour and 90g water.] And because I’m so confident that this will work, I mixed 180gm of the brand new starter with 180gm unbleached all-purpose (no additives) flour and 180gm body temperature water.
– me, blog from OUR kitchen, And we have a new pet…,
23 July 2017: 08:47 We decided we should give this another try. And actually follow Jane Mason’s timeline guides a little more closely.
The starter in the fridge is glooping along nicely so I went ahead to do step 1 for making bread with it, by mixing 90gm starter, 90gm whole wheat flour and 90gm warm water together in a bowl. I covered the bowl and put it in the oven with only the light on. To leave it there for 8-12 hours.
We held our breath, hoping this time it would work.
11:07 No bubbles yet. I’m starting to have trouble holding my breath.
13:23 Whoosh!! That was close! Thank goodness, I can breathe again.
Bubbles! (They’re little, but they’re bubbles.)
21:14 We decided that the bubbles were big enough and plentiful enough to go ahead with step 2 for making bread, by mixing in 300gm unbleached all-purpose and 200gm warm water. I glopped 100gm of the sticky mess into the jar in the fridge, put the hat back on the bread dough bowl, slid it into the oven with only the light turned on, and held my breath again.
Cover and leave on the counter for 8-12 hours.
– Jane Mason, All You Knead is Bread, p111
24 July, 2017, 07:53 Yay!! Bubbles galore!
I mixed in the last little bit of the flour (100gm) with 10gm salt. I weighed the salt 3 times to make sure. We didn’t want overly salty dough again.
And then I kneaded in the bowl. I kneaded a lot. Stretching it a lot. It finally stopped being ridiculously sticky to become just a little bit sticky.
I tried not to panic that the dough smells a bit sour.
08:56 After washing the dishes, I stretched and folded one more time, taking a sniff and once again pretending that I was imagining the sour smell.
09:10 Or am I imagining it? Maybe if I add a little dusting of flour when I stretch and fold, it will take away that sourness. Fingers crossed… (I can’t hold my breath anymore. It’s too dizzying.)
11:11 Just stretched and folded for a second time. The dough looks a little more like bread dough than porridge. But it still has a slight smell of sourness. Is it our kitchen??
14:55 Even though it looked like the dough should have risen way more, I did the “finger poke” test and realized that I had to shape it.
And as I was trying to pull it into a nice pillow shape, it suddenly started exploding and bursting from the top.
Waaaahhhh!! Are we destined to be eating wild yeast bread salad for every loaf made with this starter?! Not to mention that we haven’t even finished using up the sour bread from the 1st try at making Jane Mason’s supposedly not sour sourdough bread!
16:08 oven on. even though I foresee yet more toast in our future.
16:48 After 20 minutes of baking at 400, I took the stainless steel hat off.
Amazing!! There’s a little oven spring!
Let’s pretend that I was imagining the sour smell….
17:04 It’s pretty heavy. but not done yet. Maybe it will get lighter with more baking.
Pretending about no sour smell is harder….
And what a S. O. U. R. pong!!
I’m not convinced that we’re even going to want to toast this!
Back to the drawing board… Remind me to do the float test for the next loaf!
Both of us, with very sour expressions glued to our faces, stared in sullen silence at the offending loaf. T sliced it open. Sourness exploded in the air.
Here’s how the conversation went (explatives mercifully removed).
he: It’s all puddingy.
me: It’s worse than I thought it was going to be. And I thought it was going to be awful.
he: I’m not tasting that! It won’t even work for bread salad.
me: Me neither. Give it to me. I’m taking it to the compost bin now. [stomping out]
I confess that I couldn’t stop myself from tasting a tiny bit of the crumb.
How could it possibly be even more sour than I thought it was?!
We’re having potatoes for dinner tonight…
After I’ve finished licking my wounds, we’ll try again soon and report back.
In the meantime, we’ll have more bread salad, made from the 1st try at making Jane Mason’s sourdough. The salad (croutons, tomatoes, basil, mustard vinaigrette) is really quite delicious. I’m trying not to get tired of it….
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, Quarto Cooks: Food & Drink, Perfecting Sourdough with Jane Mason