Mmm... frothy! I know, it didn't look too frothy in that picture, but trust me -- it was. So, on to steps 2, 3, and half of 4 from the Berkeley sourdough recipe. Sort of. I, of course, used my bread machine instead of a food processor or mixing by hand. I put 3/4 cup of the "sponge," 3/4 cup water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 cups AP flour, and 1 cup whole-wheat flour into the machine and let it mix and knead for about 15 minutes. The dough came out a bit sticky, and a little softer than I think it should be...
That's one relaxed lump of dough!
See how flat it looks? It spread out in the bowl as soon as I dumped it out of the machine. I had a lot more of the "sponge" than I needed for one batch, so I decided to throw together some more dough. I put a couple extra tablespoons of flour in it, and it came out a little more solid:
That's more like it!
This batch held its shape a bit better. Both dough balls are in oiled bowls, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for the night. I don't think the softer, stickier batch will be too much different once all is said and done, but it will be interesting to see just what happens. They get to hang out in the fridge until about 9 tomorrow (Saturday) morning, then they'll sit out at room temp for a couple of hours. Then it'll be time to shape them, let them rise 6-7 more hours, and bake them! This is getting exciting...! =)
I hope you didn't miss my sourdough too much on Day 7! It had a pretty uneventful day. It spent the day out at room temp, I deemed it "fully risen," and then I put it in the fridge before I went to bed.
I checked the "Berkeley sourdough" recipe today, and if my calculations are accurate, I could be eating bread by Saturday evening (it's about freaking time!)!
I took the starter out of the fridge this afternoon. It seemed a bit cold to work with, so I left it out for about an hour. I scooped out a clump about the size of a tangerine, and proceeded with step 1 of the "Berkeley sourdough" recipe, which goes as follows: "Break up the starter, dilute it in the water (2 cups warm water), and mix in the flour (2 cups organic, unbleached white or all-purpose flour). Cover this mixture loosely and set it aside in a warm spot for 18Ė24 hours or until it is quite bubbly." The starter is sticky! I tore it into little pieces, added them to the water, and mixed it all up with my hands. It actually dissolved almost completely, to my surprise. I really had no idea what to expect.
Starter diluted in water:
Are you jealous of my spoon? I'm quite fond of it.
Then I added my 2 cups of flour. It may surprise you to find that I do not buy organic versions of "basic" flours -- AP, whole wheat, bread, etc. I usually buy it in bulk at the health food store and trust that they quality is decent, or (if I'm feeling too lazy to drive all the way out to the health food store!) I buy King Arthur ("never bleached, never bromated") flour at the grocery store. I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of bread flour, mostly because it's my usual M.O. to use "half-and-half" in recipes that call for all white flour, but also because I barely had a cup of AP flour on hand! Shocking.
Here's how it looks at this point. I covered it with one of those Saran Wrap elasticized covers I so affectionately call "shower caps" (God, I love those things!) and set it on the counter. I hope it doesn't get too excited and over-ferment all over my counter while I'm at work tomorrow...
I had quite a lot of starter left over. I put it into a clean, smaller bowl, and stuck it in the fridge to live in dormancy for a while:
So here's my sourdough itinerary for the next couple of days: the sponge I made this afternoon will ferment away on my counter until tomorrow afternoon. I will then mix it with more flour, some salt, and some water, until it becomes actual bread dough (yay!). That will rise in the fridge overnight tomorrow (Friday). Saturday morning, the dough will come out of the fridge and sit at room temp for a couple hours. Then I will shape it, let it rise for most of the day (6 - 7 hours), and then finally bake it!
At 4:00 this morning, according to step 7, I peeled off the "crust" and found this damp, sticky, sour-smelling substance...
As directed, I added a cup of flour. I found that I had to add quite a bit of water, too, to make it all come together into this:
At which point I put it back in its spot near the chimney "for another 8 - 12 hours." It's now about 14 hours later, and here's how it looks:
Does this "appear fully risen" to you? it doesn't quite seem to be so to me, and when I "make a small indententation" with my finger, it springs back a bit. I'm going to leave it in its warm, happy spot overnight, and then probably move it to the fridge in the morning until I can get to the "used in virtually any sourdough recipe" stage. Kev's home for a couple of days, so the starter will just have to wait until he goes back to Boston before it gets too much more attention. But maybe I'll actually get to bake bread by this weekend!!!
Today was a bit hectic... we debuted a brand new noon newscast at the station. Yes, I am directing it. In addition to the 5am show. Now I start and end my work days directing newscasts! It went pretty well, technically. The content still needs a lot of work, but that's not up to me -- I'm a techie, remember? Of course, there was a post mortem meeting to discuss what the station GM liked and didn't like, so, of course, I got out of work late. Then (yay) it was laundry time. Now it's 5:30, and I don't really feel like cooking! Supper was a piece of pita bread (made Saturday) with hummus (storebought) and cucumber slices. Exciting, no? It was good, anyway.
I don't have much to report on the sourdough front, either. My starter looks just like it did at this time yesterday. I will try to get up a few minutes early tomorrow and proceed with steps 7 & 8. Then, by the time I get home tomorrow, I should be able to start the actual bread making, which is another few days worth of working and waiting! This better be worth it in the end. =)
I never mastered the art of making perfect melon balls, but isnít this gorgeous (heh hehÖ I said melon balls!)?
Please excuse my Beavis & Butthead moment. Iím better now.
This is the orange-fleshed watermelon I got at the Farmerís Market a week ago. I just cracked into it. Itís organic, not seedless (the seeds are white, and I picked out the biggest ones), and a beautiful color. I had such high hopes for it. My hopes were dashed. Itís seriously lacking in flavor. It tastes just like the red seedless hybridized-to-death melons I refuse to buy at the grocery store! Why is it so hard to find a good watermelon these days?