A loaf of bread can be something absolutely beautiful to behold…

I made my first loaf of sourdough bread with Herbert last night!

Well… more like I started him Saturday, miscalculated my proofing time by a considerable amount due to D&D and Chinese New Year dindin post-game and so ended up giving this first loaf almost a full 24 hours of proofing once the oven was preheated and it was time to bake.

WOW!

Herbert made for an AMAZING loaf of sourdough bread! The raisin & rye starter gave it absolutely fantastic flavour that I honestly didn’t expect.

Some would say that this is not the prettiest looking loaf, but to me, it’s actually my most beautiful loaf of bread to date and really damn tasty! ^_^

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The recipe is the same recipe as I’ve used in the past for Charlesford.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Herbert makes a far wetter dough than I remember Charlesford ever doing. I think it’s because I experimented with Herbert and he started out life as being mainly rye flour (freshly milled from our CSA) and then I added whole wheat flour (also freshly milled from our CSA) later on. The texture that rye gives a sourdough starter is quite a bit different than a straight up wheat flour starter – it doesn’t become nearly as “gluey & goopy”, but more “oatmeal-y” if that makes sense.

When I finally got around to punching down Herbert, about 22 hours after initially mixing together the dough, he was oozing all over the place, almost impossible to keep together as a cohesive mass and sticky as all hell. When I tried to shape it loosely into a loaf, I originally had it sitting on a wooden cutting board, but it was just spreading out all over the place and I was worried it would ooze off during its final rise so I just gave up and dumped the whole thing back into a stainless steel bowl, practically burying it in extra flour in hopes that it wouldn’t get stuck to it or the saran wrap that was covering it for the final rise.

It probably wasn’t the most brilliant move covering it with so much flour, just because flour doesn’t really taste the greatest when it just sits on the surface of bread. Next time I will try to remember to use my silpat instead. I managed to dust some of it off after I pulled it out of the oven, but it’s definitely not photogenic with all the flour, either.

Like I’ve mentioned in the past, my kitchen seems to be cooler than the ideal “room temperature”, so when making a no-knead bread, perhaps the cooler temperature and the longer proofing time gives the sourdough starter extra time to develop flavour through longer fermentation. Given that my normal everyday schedule is kind of wonky and 18 hours seems to be a difficult time frame to achieve, I’m going to see what happens if from now on I just leave future breads to proof for 22 hours like I did this weekend and then bake off at the 24 hour mark.

Needless to say, I’m pretty darned pleased with myself & Herbert ^_^

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One thought on “A loaf of bread can be something absolutely beautiful to behold…

  1. Looks delicious to me. I have a cold kitchen, but my fancy new oven has a Bread Proof setting that I’ve used with success. As well as forgetting that my fancy new oven has a Bread Proof setting and leaving the dough on a ledge above the furnace outlet . . .

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