Tuesday, October 21, 2008


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Some of you may be familiar with the no-knead bread revolution, and my own small experiments. I've been wanting to try making it with only sourdough starter-- no yeast-- but haven't had time lately. However, a few days ago, I planned ahead and gave it a shot. The results were not bad, but it still needs work.

Why sourdough? Well, I've known for a long time that sourdough breads have a better glycemic index rating than yeasted breads-- good news for diabetics and people who need to lose weight. Recently there was a small study that showed positive blood sugar responses to sourdough bread-- even white bread! And, these responses stayed with the body for quite some time.

Even though it's nice to know that a white sourdough bread can be a good thing, I still like the idea of adding some wholewheat flour for fiber and other nutrients.

I got out my two sourdough starters-- my San-Francisco-style soy yogurt starter and my Carl Griffith's Oregon Trail starter-- and refreshed them, and then made two batters with them.

Bubbly sourdough batter

I didn't figure the percentage of water to flour-- I just adapted my no-knead recipe according to my experience. But, next time I'll be more scientific. My starters were less liquidy than I thought they were, so I had to do some fast-footwork, and, in the end, I wound up with doughs that were a bit too stiff.

With Carl's starter, I used a large amount of white starter and added wholewheat flour. But it ended up being mostly white. With the San Francisco starter, I added more wholewheat.

I mixed the doughs and shaped the loaves and set them to rise as in this recipe, swathed in clean large white plastic bags.

I made 2 loaves out of the more wholegrain dough, and one larger one for the mostly white one.

I rose them at room temperature for 5 hours, and then refrigerated them for 12 hours-- timing them so that they would bake first thing the next morning. I really don't think that sourdough will react well to many days in the refrigerator, as the yeast dough does. Correct me if I'm wrong! That's why I only refrigerated the loaves for 12 hours and why I formed them before the refrigerator rise.

I took the risen loaves out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature while I heated the covered, heavy pans I was using in the oven at 457 degrees F for 30 minutes. I used two different sizes of enamelled cast iron pots, and one large clay baker-- the clay baker soaked in hot water for 15 minutes before placing in a cold oven. Then I baked them as per my yeast recipe, but they didn't need the extra 15 minutes with the lids off.

They came out nice and crusty, and very tasty, but didn't have big holes in the crumb. I think that's because the dough was not wet enough.

One of the more whole grain loaves

The whiter loaf



Sheree' said...

I love sourdough and can't wait until you have your perfected recipe. All your recipes are so good. By the way do you have any idea when the Fielf Roast cookbook will be coming out? YOur posts make me crazy! :o) Can't wait to try some of those recipes.

Anonymous said...

I made my own sourdough starter about a month ago using the method found here... http://www.breadtopia.com/make-your-own-sourdough-starter/. I have been making no-knead bread with it, the base recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (can be found on www.artisanbreadinfive.com), and using a technique to convert regular bread recipes into sourdough by adding 2 tablespoons of starter instead of the commercial yeast, which I'll explain... Mix 2 Tablespoons of starter with the liquid called for in the recipe, and add the same amount of flour as liquid. Let this mixture sit overnight. The next day, add the remaining ingredients and the rest of the flour. I find this works wonderful. I've been giving loaves of bread to my friends and they love it, and they say they're not sharing any! My email is kalispell.dude@yahoo.com if you have any questions.