Thursday, May 7, 2009

My sourdough escapade continues

So that youtube video about the sourdough starter isn't perfect. There are 3 key things left out.

1. Do not use bleached flour. I believe all purpose flour is usually bleached, and this is what people normally have. Its true that you can grow your starter with unbleached flour, but it almost certainly won't be sour. After my first experience, although it was good bread, I was disappointed that it hardly tasted sour. And I was left wondering why. The starter itself should have smelled sour. But it definitely didn't. And it certainly isn't going to develop when the actual dough is rising.

2. Don't use water with chlorine in it. All tap water contains chlorine, even if you cannot taste it. My tap water comes out of a pur water filter, which should remove the chlorine taste but I'm sure there is some chlorine in there. As you can imagine, chlorine kills yeast, among other things. So what I do is I boil water for 5 minutes (lid off). This heavily accelerates the chlorine from evaporating. I've also heard you can leave tap water out for a day, and it should also do its job. But to be sure, I boil it, then leave it overnight for maximum dechlorination (i probably made that word up.)

3. Don't use metal anything. Supposedly metal contact will make the sourness go away. Stainless steel is the only metal that should be okay to handle the goods with. But aluminum, copper, brass, anything else can kill the sourness. You shouldn't let your starter grow in it. Don't let the dough rise in it. Although you can probably stir the starter with metal utensils, maybe mix your dough in a metal container, it seems as though almost all videos I've seen, people just avoid touching any metal when dealing with sourdough period. If you really want to make it sour, just don't take any risks of taking away any bit of the sourness. Just like when you're cooking anything, if you want the best product, you gotta handle it the best way possible without any shortcusts. In other words, don't be lazy especially when it doesn't take any extra effort.

I'm also having a bit of fun mixing in things to add flavor. I added a roasted red bell pepper & eggplant spread (trader joes) into the mix, and that produced some amazing smelling bread. It didn't rise as much as I wanted. I'm not sure if it was the natural perservatives in the bread, but I'll definitely have to explore than further.

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