As promised, here is my sourdough starter update.
Last Saturday, I started a batch of sourdough starter. I was excited to see that there was activity and the wild yeast was growing (see photo below) until something happened when I made my first “refreshment” on Monday night. It appeared as if the “refreshment” had halted the growth process. I am wondering if the high humidity we had from heavy rains might had something to do with that? I began to fret a little, but I continued to stir the starter faithfully every day just like the directions instructed. *Note, while I did leave my kitchen window slightly cracked, I did not leave the starter sitting close to it as the directions advised.
By Wednesday morning I was convinced my batter was a dud and I would end up tossing it – so I decided to add about a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to it. Sugar typically helps most wild yeasts thrive and grow so I thought maybe I could kick start the yeast into growing. To be honest, I don’t think adding the sugar helped or hurt the process. Wednesday night I decided to do a little on-line research before I tossed the starter out and started over. I was eager to see what went wrong.
I ended up finding a blog called Food Wishes that chronicles (by video) the entire sourdough making process. The video for day number 4 provided some critical information. The directions given in the video said to remove 1/2 of the batter, and add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 c. of warm water, so I followed this advise.
On Thursday morning when I checked my batter it had formed tiny bubbles and the froth like it’s was suppose to (see photo below). Hallelujah – right?
I decided to mix up my dough Thursday evening and let it rise overnight. Friday morning when I checked on the dough it didn’t really look it had changed at all. I was again skeptical that my firsts attempt at making sour dough had failed but I continued on with the process. I removed the dough from the bowl and shaped it into a round loaf of bread (see photo below). I placed the loaf on a lightly greased pizza stone and covered it with a dishtowel.
I didn’t get back to the dough until much later than I had expected to on Friday. The directions recommend the dough triple in size. At the end of the day I found the dough dried and flattened out, and it was obvious at this point that it wasn’t tripled in size. *Note – I suspect that if it the dough did rise while I was gone I missed the window for optimal baking.
Because I had gotten this far I went ahead and baked off the loaf. In the end, the bread looked like a rock and did not have a light airy texture (see photo below). It was like a round floury loaf of unattractiveness. It didn’t look like a decent loaf of sourdough bread should, and after one bite I knew our chickens were going to be treated to my first sourdough bread failure.
While I’m discouraged with the failure of this project but I do think it was a great experiment. And I certainly have a true appreciation for store-bought yeast after this.
Have you made sourdough bread this way before? Was is a success or failure?