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Bread update


I apologize for bragging, but after considerable practice, I’m ready to claim that I’m now as confident with sourdough artisan breads as I long have been with traditional yeast breads. The keys are the right guidebooks (chiefly The Breadmaker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart), a steam oven (the Cuisinart CSO-300), a few simple tools like a baker’s stone, a peel, and a razor-blade lame for slashing the tops, and lots of patience.

One of the best discoveries I’ve made in the last year is sprouted whole wheat flour. It has turned out to be much easier to work with than whole wheat flours. And sprouted flour almost certainly is even healthier, with a lower glycemic index and easier digestibility. When getting a start with sourdough artisan breads and pursuing your practice, I think that one is pretty much obliged to work with unbleached bread flour. But once you’ve got that down pat, you can move on to more challenging flours such as sprouted whole wheat.

Sprouted whole wheat flour loves being fed to your sourdough starter. However, you need to give it a little more time. Another of my discoveries (no surprise to sourdough professionals) is that sourdough bread doughs love the refrigerator. Invariably, when I split a batch of dough in half and bake part of it today and part of it a day or two later, the bread made later is better. Not only does the later bread taste better, but it’s easier to get a better crumb with coarse holes, and more oven spring. Just be sure to take it out of the refrigerator in plenty of time to get the dough up to room temperature.

It’s getting to the point that yeast breads don’t even seem like real bread anymore. Sourdough bread makes toast that is greatly superior. And while a yeast bread will be moldy on the third day, I have never seen a sourdough bread go to mold. You can toast it for days. I’m sure that it’s the lactic acid that preserves it.

The loaf in the photo above sprawled flat (as usual) when I put laid it on the baking stone in the hot oven. But by the time it was done, it had sprung straight up to almost twice as high, and the top burst open nicely.

That’s fall greens in the photo below, with egg salad from home-laid eggs.


One Comment

  1. Jo wrote:

    Have to say you have mastered bread making. This loaf looks awesome.

    Monday, October 19, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

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