Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2nd Boule, AV

There is my second sourdough loaf, on the left. I say second, but that really dates from the gospel of the slapping and folding video, on which I am now basing my sourdough behaviour. It is really the fifth loaf since I started this adventure on March 6th, innocently stirring together flour and water to create the starter beast.

BV and AV. Before video, and after video.

I liked this second loaf, AV. It was lower in profile (baker-speak for "flatter") than the spectacular and  mountainous first loaf AV, whose remnant you see on the right. Although it was flatter, which disappointed me at first, the texture was very good, quite dense, and more chewy, but with a nuttier flavour. Very good. All this because I added a little more water (by accident), and salt.

There's the salt added to the sponge (starter mixed with some water and some flour, before the bulk is added.)

And this is the gooey mass that one must fling around without caving to the temptation of either oiling one's hands or dusting them with flour. I need a bench scraper - the thing that cuts the stuck goo from your wooden board. The stuck goo can drive you mad.

I am still thrilled by the process, especially by the magic of putting my huge Le Creuset into the 500'F oven to heat, then removing it and gently lifting the risen and shaped and delicate boule into it, replacing the blazing lid, and sliding that all back inside. In goes pale, soft dough, out comes crackling, golden bread.

The second loaf did not sing as much as the first did, when it cooled. I am still not sure why. Something to do with the hydration, and with gas being released, or not released.

The next test will be baking a loaf from the starter that has now been consigned to the fridge. Before, it had been living on a countertop, fed daily. Now it's a once-a-week feed.

The suspense!


  1. We are working in tandem! I had been trying to get some starter going all winter -- but our house is just too cold. Brooklyn son came to the rescue by donating some of his starter. I've made no-knead bread with starter many times in the past. This time, I did the more lengthy folding method with proofing, then baking on a pizza stone. My loaves look much like yours, but I wasn't happy with the crust. Next time, I'm going to use the same prep process but go back to baking them inside the Le Creuset.

  2. I've heard that using a non-stick silicone mat instead of a wooden board will solve the sticking to the board problem. Haven't tried it yet but it may be worth experimenting. Of course, it will still stick to your hands.

  3. Congrat's...very nice. As a carb addict, homemade sourdough is at the top of my addiction. I have a sourdough starter in the back of the fridge that is more than a decade old (actually started in '97). When not in regular use, it may not get fed for months, however it has never gone bad or ceased to come to life when brought into the warm kitchen and fed. Within a few days it's ready to go. My sourdough buddy is fed with a combo of organic dark rye, whole wheat, and unbleached flours, and bottled spring water. Less wasteful than having to feed a new starter for a couple of weeks if you don't bake regularly.

    Lately it's been loaves inspired by Tartine Bakery in SF. I like their folding technique.

    In the fall try an apple starter (you need to use an unwashed organic apple, preferably just picked, covered in yeasty bloom) - excellent for loaves of apple walnut sourdough. Some use grapes, and i've seen a cumin starter as well...


  4. Your loaves look beautiful! sometimes you get different loaves just because the humidity/temp/drafts is/are different.

  5. You can't know this, Marie, but you are slowly torturing this avid fan. I got the Celiac diagnosis back in September. Of course, the lifestyle change is worth it, because literally for the first time in my life I feel good all the time. But then I look at those pictures. Sigh.

    On a completely unrelated note, I went to a Costco for the first time in my life this weekend (bit like going to IKEA - I left with a tic in my left hand) and purchased a bag of 120 Abyssinian gladiolus bulbs for $11, as well as some bags of 12 lily bulbs for the same price. I thought of you and your new space and figured I would mention this in case you were looking for any bulk. I was, and I sure found it.

    Back to my gluten-less life now. Boo.

    1. Sorry, Carrie! Are fermented grains any easier on your system? My friend Sarah credits fermented grains, and sourdough, with a much easier digestive life.

      120 Abyssinian glads! Wow - those are going to smell very good!


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