Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sourdough Paradigm Shift

So you probably know from my past posts (here and here) I've been seeking a very mild tasting sourdough pullman loaf. And failing.

Well, on Sunday before my last 10km run, I baked a sourdough sandwich loaf using a feeding ratio of 1:2:2 (starter:flour:water). Previously I had used 1:1:1 feeding ratio which I felt was not giving me the result I wanted. I used the same recipe from Sonia's Nasi Lemak blog. I figure using the same recipe allows me to gauge the difference in taste better.

Everything about this loaf went very well although based on experience that doesn't mean squat. The dough was silky and I hit windowpane stage without problems. Bulk fermentation was under 2 hours. Final rise took 3 full hours. Baking temp was 200 deg C for 55 min. I baked with the pullman tin lidded throughout. The bread baked slightly darker than normal. I left the loaf on the table to cool and went for my run. I did not get a chance to cut the bread until 7 hours later.

I forgot to take a photo of the plain bread. I sooo badly wanted this loaf to succeed but it still had the distinctive sourish taste. Certainly, it is much less sour and quite possibly my best loaf so far but the improvement in taste was very marginal and I was very disappointed. Thankfully, my family ate it as a sandwich for dinner without any complaints. Toasting the bread and heaping on lots of bacon does the trick. Also, I think I've finally trained my family to eat sourdough! Woo hoo!

Anyway, my friend Corinna had suggested as little as 1 teaspoon of starter when feeding. I did wonder if 1 teaspoon of starter was powerful enough to leaven the dough because I wasn't going to add any instant yeast. Some bakers use a balance of sourdough and a tiny bit of instant yeast but I don't think I've reached that "page" yet. I decided to try Corrina's suggestion but when I was mixing the starter, I accidentally used 1 tablespoon of starter instead of 1 teaspoon. Oops. Hahaha. Despite the mistake, I went ahead with the bake. Bulk fermentation and final rise were similar to my previous loaf.
This was my sourdough starter. I can't believe this resulted from just one tablespoon of sourdough. (I'd love to learn more about the science of sourdough but my brain is not willing.)

When I took the loaf out of the pullman tin, I sniffed it and I couldn't detect any sour smell. I sniff all my bread when it comes out of the oven. Doesn't everyone? I waited for the loaf to cool before I cut it and ate a slice. OMG. What a big difference a tablespoon of starter makes! I'm not going to lie to you and say there was zero hint of sourdough taste. But it was just a tinge (a tinge!) and my god, the improvement in taste was huge. Thank you Corinna! Definitely my most successful sourdough pullman loaf so far.

My family managed to finish the loaf. Hubs made fake pizza with the bread. The next time I bake this loaf again, I'll use one teaspoon of starter and we'll see how that turns out. But not anytime soon because I want to give the family a break from sourdough sandwich loaf before they stage a revolt!


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