Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create Sour Dough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with Sour Dough recipes from Bread Matters by AndrewWhitley as well as delicious recipes to use our Sourdough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen’s Great British Food!
I began to bake bread quite frequently after I purchased The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. It's a fabulous bread baking book. I use it every month, at least, but have never used sourdough starters. They kind of grossed me out. I mean, really, flour and water fermenting for days..or years..to get a rise out of bread? Kind of ishy, I thought.
To get a sourdough to ferment I needed a warm space, which is difficult in December in Minnesota. 86F is ideal. My house is never 86F, even in August. I mixed up 1/3 cup of rye flour and 3 T of water to begin this science project and placed the tupperware container in Troy's bathroom, near the vent. Troy's bathroom doesn't have any window, no drafts so it is about the warmest place in the house during the winter months.
Each morning I added 1/3 c of rye flour + 3T of water and mixed, watching for life. Eventually I did find a few bubbles and my mixture smelled yeasty. Tyler arrived home for the Christmas Holiday and asked what in the world was that bubbly smelly stuff in his bathroom? I knew it was finally ready!
It just seemed so strange to me that I wasn't using yeast in this bread. The sourdough starter creates it's own yeast from the bacteria floating around my house, apparently. Interesting.
I wasn't completely into this experiment until I watched my bread rise in the oven today. Yeah, the bakers are correct, sourdough does create it's own yeast. What a concept, hu? I didn't use all of the starter so now the remainder just hangs out until I decide to make another sourdough bread, which will probably be next week!
Here is my creation! Not too bad for a first time, if I do say so myself. Doesn't it look light, for a rye flour? I thought it would be a dark bread, like a pumpernickel. I was wrong. I really do love to bake breads. Thank you to Jessica to giving me the nudge I needed to try a sourdough. I no longer this of it as a gross science project :)
Be sure to visit Jessica for the complete recipe and details.