Friday, August 25, 2017

My First Successful Sourdough Wholemeal Loaf


I'm bursting to tell you the fabulous news. Yesterday afternoon, I baked my first successful sourdough loaf. I can't express how freaking happy I am. I'm blinking back tears as I write this. The feeling of success is so fantastic, it's better than winning the $758 million Powerball jackpot. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. The money is better.

I've been observing my sourdough starter and I started to notice a pattern. In Singapore weather, after a feed, within 5 hours (give or take) it could triple in volume. I read somewhere that it's less sour if you use the starter before it starts to collapse so I used the starter when it had expanded 2.75 times.

I tried this recipe by the Nasi Lemak Lover (Sonia). You can try it and see if it works for you.

Everything went so well for this bake.
Before bulk fermentation - look how silky the dough is. I managed to use the mixer to beat the dough until I achieved a very stretchy windowpane. What's the secret? Patience.

 This was after dividing prior to shaping.

When I bake in a pullman tin, I like to make two braids and twist both like a rope. FYI, the size of my pullman tin is 8" long, 4.5" wide and 4" deep.

By the time I finished shaping, it was 11:30pm at night and I didn't fancy staying up to wait for the dough to proof so I put it in the fridge. The next morning I noticed the dough had not expanded as much as required so I left it on the table and went for my weekly swim.

I guess I was away around 3 hours and by the time I reached home, the dough had proofed so much it nearly reached the top. I quickly put it back in the fridge while I got the oven to reach the right temperature. Honestly, I was thinking I may have screwed up the dough! But it was my lucky day.

The bread smelled so good when it was baking. Can you see the lines made by the braids?

This bread does not use any water except what's in the sourdough starter. Instead it uses fresh milk. I used Hokkaido Fresh Milk which is a luxury. It's not necessary to use expensive milk but I was feeling rich...

The inside of the bread was so soft and perfect. NOTHING was under baked. The taste was good. I could detect a hint of a tangy flavour, most likely caused by putting in the fridge overnight? But it's ok, I rather like it. Next time I will make this loaf again on the same day and see what's the difference.


My family finished the whole loaf by noon the next day. Yes, of course we had luncheon meat sandwich. I will definitely make this loaf again and before I forget, a big thanks to Mom of Momshoo for her sourdough starter. If I had continued with my own concoction, I think I would still be struggling. Now all I need is to make a successful rustic sourdough and I'll die happy. No, no, I'm kidding. Not yet. I still have the water kefir and milk kefir shit going on as well.

I have another story to tell you. Last night I baked my second attempt at Pain Au Levain. I had lost track of all the starter and dough I had prepared and realised I had a Pain au levain dough sitting in the fridge for over 2 days. I was afraid it would collapse so I brought it out with the intention to bake. Indeed, it didn't look very stable. Anyway, I made a boule and decided to bake it anyway just to see even though looking at the dough I could tell it would be a failure.

I had run out of parchment paper and used CleanWrap instead. Usually I wouldn't use this to bake because I noticed the paper turned brown at high heat. But I didn't have any other paper.

The bake didn't go well as expected. I noticed there wasn't much oven spring. Towards the end of the bake, I tried to turn the bread because the left side of my oven is very hot. To my horror, the bread burst into flames. Yes, flames, fire. It was so frightening. I quickly switched off the oven. Then I screamed for hubs to come. Unfortunately, in his hurry he hurt his foot. Poor bugger. Meanwhile I was still screaming because the fire was getting bigger. Then I realised it was the paper that was burning and my oven wasn't on fire. By then hubs had reached the kitchen and at first he wanted to put out the fire with water but soon the fire went out by itself after all the paper had turned to ash. The experience really shook me up. I think the Universe wants me to take a break from baking so feverishly.

I'm going to look for parchment paper soon. I used to be able to get them at Cold Storage but one day they disappeared. Very strange. I wonder what other bakers in Singapore use? I may have to get them online but don't you think it's ridiculous that it's so hard to find parchment paper in Singapore?


Bethany said...

Oh my goodness!!!! At least you had the sense to yell for help. I'd have run out of the house screaming "We're all going to die!!!"

Jane McLellan said...

Whoo-oo, well done!!

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Jane, yesterday my daughter read this blog post and she was quite puzzled as she did not recall eating any sourdough bread. In her mind, sourdough bread sounds like something dreadful and horribly sour and it is something she will avoid. When I told her the sandwich bread she had eaten was sourdough she was very surprised.

Chris H said...

Ummmm rather funny picturing your oven/bread/paper on fire! Was the bread ruined? I can't get over how small your oven is! It must work well though, cos you are baking up a storm!

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