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Sourdough Bread, Slight Malfunction

I wanted to give my sourdough starter, Sam, another workout. I was given another sourdough recipe by our friend, Linda.

This was for Sourdough French Bread. I know it is a good recipe as she makes it successfully. However, when I made it, it spread out on second rising so the loaves weren’t very tall. I see three possible causes for this:

  1.  I didn’t make a stiff enough dough.
  2. I substituted 1/2 the white flour with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour has somewhat less gluten and the dough might not have set up very well.
  3. I am incompetent.

I suspect it is a combination of all three with an emphasis on number 3.

However, the bread was tasty and I will try it again.

The Ingredients:

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoon) active yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons sugar

I put the yeast in the warm water and let it soften for 10 minutes. I added 2 cups of flour, the sourdough starter, sugar, butter, and salt. I stirred this until mostly smooth. I mixed the baking soda with a cup of flour. I stirred this into the mixture.

At this point I am lazier than my friend. She adds more flour and kneads by hand. I added more flour and used the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer. I started with 1 1/2 cups flour and kept adding until the dough started to clean the bowl. I kept adding until I thought I had a reasonably stiff dough but maybe I should have added more.

When I felt it was stiff enough, I continued with the dough hook for 5 minutes and by hand for another 2 minutes. The dough then gets turned in a greased bowl, is covered and is left to rise for 1 to 1/2 hours until doubled in size. I put my rising doughs in my oven with the oven light on. It just gives a bit more warmth. You can test if your dough has doubled by pushing two fingers in the top. If they don’t spring back, it has doubled.

While it was rising, lunch time came. Time for a home made bratwurst on a home made bun with home made mustard relish.

I then made another change. The recipe calls for cutting the dough in half and making two long loaves. I made one long loaf and six more smaller hoagie style loaves for sandwiches. These are covered and allowed to rise for an hour until doubled in size. Diagonal slices are
made in the loaf to allow for full rising.

Then, into a 375 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove and cool.

The Verdict

I can see why Linda likes these. The crust has a nice chew while the interior is soft and well grained. The taste was excellent but I would like a bit more sourdough taste. I will make this again but will make the dough stiffer and go with all white flour next time.

The Old Fat Guy

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