So I spent yesterday in my kitchen “playing” with the two starter mixes. The one from the Tassajara Bread Book wasn’t looking too healthy but had a slight sour smell none the less. I decided that it might be starving so I fed it some flour and spring water and instantly it began to revive. So much for just stirring it daily for five days…definitely did NOT work!
The rye starter from the Bread Alone book was very healthy but I have been feeding it daily. In the end, I decided to leave the Tassajara starter to grow and mature for a few more days and I would use the Bread Alone rye starter to make some bread. The directions in the Bread Alone book left something to be desired and I found myself trying to “wing” it. I watched you-tube videos (thank goodness for the internet!) and plodded forward into a day of folding and proofing for about 8 hours. Finally I decided it was ready to form into loaves. Frankly I was tired of the whole process and was ready to go to bed. I divided the dough in half and divided one of those halves into two. I made a round loaf that I cooked in my Le Crueset dutch oven and the other two pieces I formed into baguettes. After a final rise, I baked them and the end result wasn’t all that great.
When I bent the baguette it had a nice crackle. The crust was crisp and successful thanks to the pan of water beneath the loaves that delivered moisture in the form of steam as they baked. The inside crumb was chewy, moist and decidedly rye. The round loaf in my Dutch oven was not a thing of beauty. I had difficulty transferring the risen loaf into a blasting hot preheated dutch oven, burning myself a couple of times in the process. Bottom line…I think the starter needs to mature more and baking bread successfully and without injury, demands the right equipment. I fed a couple of tablespoons of this starter and placed the jar in the fridge until next weekend when I may try again. Now I am asking myself why I am bothering with the rye starter since I am not a great fan of rye bread.
On the plus side of this very long day in the baking kitchen, I cranked out more Multi-grain Dakota bread. My original loaf of this bread met my culinary needs but the loaf was quite large. I decided to divide the dough into two loaves this time but wasn’t too happy with the end result. The boule was great, just smaller, but the second loaf I placed into the willow basket (Banneton) and when I turned it out onto the stone, it spread while baking resulting in less rise. Bread still tastes great but just not as aesthetically pleasing as the round loaf.
As I write, I have another loaf of Dakota bread rising and almost ready for the oven. Did I say how easy this loaf is to make and that it is yummy!!! Onward to pizza crust for my dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow when I head back to work.