Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sourdough Success!

My first Real Food Wednesday post!
Anyone else struggle with making an authentic sourdough loaf of bread? I mean real sourdough, not yeast bread, flavored with something sour. I made an authentic Alaskan sourdough starter last year and have managed to make maybe six loaves with it. My biggest struggle is with making a high loaf without the incredibly tangy flavor. The longer you leave sourdough to rise, the more sour it is. Well, the best loaf I ever managed, in terms of height, was after a 48 hour rise and it was nearly inedible. We ate it with soup the day I made it but it would be worthless as a sandwich bread and was sour enough to cause a pucker. Well, I believe I've stumbled upon a good compromise loaf. The recipe is for a soaked flour bread, (to reduce phytic acid) but I can use my sourdough starter as the soaking medium. I diluted the starter as the recipe called for and left it in the bread machine to soak overnight. When I got ready to put the rest of it together this morning I discovered that it had risen a little while not getting very sour at all. Don't get me wrong, I love sourdough bread, just not so sour that you pucker when you eat it. I figure, a twelve hour rise is the most that I want and if I can get the phytic acid reduced before hand and then use yeast to assist the wild yeasts I'm gonna go for it. I'm not sure how I can get the true sourdough that I want but in the meantime this is a good compromise.

I started with fresh ground wheat (hard red):

I didn't manage to get a picture of the mess I made when I forgot the grinder was running and it overflowed.

Next, I mixed my starter, the flour, maple syrup and water in the bread machine:

This takes a lot of the work out of it.The recipe uses a Bosch. I think I'll talk my husband into getting me one for my birthday... As soon as I get a husband that is, since I'll never finagle one out of my parents.

Then I left it to soak overnight and in the morning, this was what I found:

I activated the yeast in a small bowl with water and honey:

I had to knead the yeast mixture, the ascorbic acid (dough enhancer) and the salt in by hand since the bread machine just couldn't break through the gluten cloak that had already formed. This was what it looked like when I put it in the machine to rise again before I baked it:

I can't get a good picture of what it looked like before I baked so y'all will have to use your imaginations!

A nice, fresh, loaf of bread!:
I went to the neighbor's for an hour and a half so it got a little dark.

I'm really impressed with this brand of yeast. It's made by Rapunzel, the same company that makes Rapadura, unrefined sugar. I like that it's organic, so no GMOs and they put a lot of it in the packet because they can't supercharge it in the laboratory. It's $1.50 a packet so it's not a great deal and I'm going to keep working on making a pure sourdough loaf. In the meantime it's a great way to make sure my family has healthy bread to eat.

We cut into the loaf as soon as we could cause I was a little late getting dinner on the table. It is wonderfully light (for wheat sourdough) and has that marvelous sour tang but it's not so overwhelming, even after 12 hours. The bread machine is awesome cause I can turn on the bake cycle for ten seconds or so and then turn it off to make it warmer in the machine. It took about three hours for the bread to rise as high as it did and I might have let it go a little more if I'd been home. For those of you who want the recipe here it is:

In you bread machine start with-

1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups water
5 1/2 cups of ground flour (you can replace 1 or 2 cups with unbleached white flour for a lighter end result)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup coconut oil, butter or palm oil, melted

Work it together using the dough setting then cover the "pan" with plastic wrap, close the lid and let it sit for 12-24 hours.

After soaking, activate the yeast by combining:

1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp honey
1 packet organic yeast

After activating the yeast, combine it with the soaked flour and add the remaining ingredients:

3/4 Tbsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ascorbic acid (I used homeopathic vitamin c tablets)
1 cup unbleached white flour, if necessary (usually not necessary and wasn't for me)
Sunflower seeds, if desired

I had to knead for about ten minutes to get everything mixed into the dough. When it was done I rolled it into a ball and put it back in the machine. Turn the machine to 'bake' for about ten seconds. Don't walk away and forget it or you'll end up with a brick!! Let the dough rise until double then turn the machine on to bake and walk away. I had to cover the dough while it was soaking and rising with plastic wrap because the machine doesn't seal. The bread can't rise if there's a crust on top. Slather on a thick layer of organic (cause I can't get grass-fed right now) butter and munch away!!



Steve and Paula said...

Came over via Cheeseslave!
I am one of the Weston A Price Foundation Chapter leaders in the MatSu Valley.
Just curious where in general you are in Alaska?
We are in Willow

alaskan arndts said...

Hi Paula,
We live on the Kenai Peninsula, in Kasilof, between Soldotna and Ninilchik.


Steve and Paula said...

Should mention to you, if you are looking for a raw milk scource, the health food store in Homer is working on a co-op that will consist of milk from the valley.
Plans to date, are for our farmers brother-in-law, who lives in Sterling, to make the long drive every week.
Not sure when it will start, and the milk will cost $15 per gallon I think.
Triple our price up here, due to the 600 mile round trip!

alaskan arndts said...

Thanks for the heads-up.
I don't know if you've read any of my other posts but last May, a year ago Tuesday in fact, I bought a Scottish Highland heifer that I have plans to breed in July. We were getting our milk from a ranch in Kenai at $6 a gallon but haven't heard anything from them in months. Bummer since they had a Jersey and a Guernsey and a Jersey/Guernsey cross, on pasture all summer. That made the most beautiful, yellow butter!!
I'll keep an ear open about the co-op until then, thanks!

About Me

We're a family that came to Alaska in shifts. We've been here since 1995 and don't plan to leave any time soon.

For Jaime

Comment from a SMART President

" The government that is big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."

Thomas Jefferson President 1801-1809
Died on JULY 4th, 1826



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