Are you sick of hearing about my bread yet? Well, maybe I'll give you a break after this. I think I've finally hit my mark.
Here's the loaves that I made earlier this week with the whole wheat starter that I made:
I'm thinking that's about the best rise I can expect from whole grain bread. And it's totally edible and has a great flavor. I just wish I could get that fantastic high rise and structure...
Last week I got an envelope in the mail from Northwest Sourdough. Hmmm... I thought, I don't remember ordering anything from them... When I opened it, I found that it was a starter sent as a gift from my dear sister-in-law (sister-in-law-in-law? Nathan's sister-in-law? Nathan's brother's wife, anyway). I was thrilled! So I got some real bread flour (from the store! and white!) and got the starter going. Yesterday, I mixed up the bread, today I baked it.
And here's what I ended up with:
Oh. Yeah. Baby.
THAT is what I've been going for. HUGE oven-spring. Great flavor! Beautiful bubbles! Chewy crumb, crunchy crust.
I have arrived.
I was shocked, really, but the trick is in the white flour, of course. I've made very little white bread in my time. Whole wheat is just more difficult, that's all there is to it.
But it surely won't hurt to have white sourdough as a treat, too...
And I love that I've got my artisan style totally improvised. I use a pizza stone with a roasting lid instead of a brick oven, a spray bottle instead of steam injection for humidity, some old baskets that I had around lined with cloth from an old men's dress shirt instead of bannetons for proofing, a razor blade instead of a lamé for slashing, a sheet pan and parchment paper instead of a bread peel... and my old propane oven. Works for me!
And might I say? Yum. Just yum.