Good and gentle fellow foodies...
I've had a fantastic time these past couple of weeks playing with sourdough, and wanted to share. Making a reasonable sourdough loaf was on this year's list of to do's. After a frustrating week or so of trying to make a starter from scratch, I stumbled upon http://www.northwestsourdough.com
(no affiliation yada yada :)) - a website which sells dehydrated starters via mailorder. Crossing my fingers, I sent them my $5.99 for their Northwest starter, and was both delighted and somewhat disconcerted when a little envelope of white powder appeared in my mailbox. I've spent a few days waiting for the federal police to knock on my door.. :)
Anyway, to cut a short story shorter, the dehydrated starter worked a treat ! It took off two days after being rehydrated and has been bubbly and active ever since. It makes what I consider to be a very sour loaf - each loaf takes nine and a half hours, plus a couple of hours to cool before cutting - so if I start making it at 7am, it's ready to cut just in time for dinner.
Two books have also made a big difference to how I do things breadwise this year - Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf
and Richard Bertinet's Dough
. Both GREAT breadmaking books which suggest a much gentler approach to handling dough than books I've read previously. Lepard in particular advocates multiple gentle 10 - 15 second kneads during the initial rising process, which folds copious air into the dough, and helps to create lots of holes in the finished loaf.
Finally, I've been baking the risen loaf in my big Le Creuset pot - I think there really IS something to the pot baking phenomenan. With my beloved welding gloves (welding gloves are the kitchen find of the decade for me - they cost less than $10 at the local gas welding outlet, are made out of sturdy lined leather, and have saved my forearms numerous times), taking the big pot in and out of the oven isn't scary. I've given up trying to plonk the dough into the pot whilst it's in the oven. I've also taken the lid off the Le Creuset and replaced it with a stainless steel lid I had in the right size, so that I can blitz the oven right up to 250' C (before turning it down when I put the bread in).
Hmmm. Now if only someone could figure out a way to make low carb sourdough, I'd be completely happy. Though sourdough IS low GI...