Friday, October 24, 2008

First Sourdough Loaf Attempt

I received my live sourdough starter last Friday from Breadtopia and I have been feeding it for the past week. I highly recommend getting a sourdough starter to anyone who don't want to attempt making his own. I love the smell and power of the starter from Breadtopia. It started to bubble within a few hours after the first feeding. So no question that it's very active.

I've been looking through recipes trying to decide which one as my first. I decided on Betsy Oppenneer's basic sourdough recipe that uses sourdough starter and a sponge. So after getting home from work yesterday, my sponge had been bubbling for about 24 hours, just waiting to blossom into bread.

I also decided to do the kneading not by hand but rather with a Kitchenaid Pro 600 mixer. Some of you are asking right now, hey, don't you already have a stand mixer? You are correct! I do have the Bosch mixer but after a year, there are a couple of things that convinced me that I also needed, well, still wanted a Kitchenaid mixer. The price has gone down dramatically (a huge deciding factor since I got an outstanding deal on it), and Kitchenaid has switched back to an all metal chasis house, which was the primary cause of all those motor burn-outs. (Yes, I took apart my mixer to see if mine had the metal chasis, and it did. whew.) Another reason is that a Kitchenaid mixer is much easier to use for certain types of batter and what nots, has a narrower footprint so I can leave it on the counter without sacraficing too much space.

Anyway, back to bread. I wanted to test out the Pro 600 motor although I knew it wouldn't even come close to the Bosch's 800 wt power. Sure enough, I could already hear it struggling a bit with the dough. Conclusion, I won't be using the Pro 600 to kneading any kind of stiff dough like bread, it's not what I bought it for anyway. I'll save that for the Bosch! Besides, I'm convinced that hand kneading yeast dough produces the best results.

The resulting loaves were a bit disappointing, to my standards. I wasn't expecting great results primarily based on Oppenneer's comments with using stand mixer instructions. But I wanted to try anyway. The 2 things going against me was that the Kitchenaid did the kneading and I ran out of unbleached flour half way through. These 2 reasons contributed to a much denser loaf than I like. But the taste was wonderful and I got a little practice on using a pizza stone.

So I'll be off to the grocery store tomorrow morning to stock up on unbleached all-purpose flour and some more bread flour. I'm going to attempt to make the no-knead sourdough this weekend so stay tuned.

Have a wonderful weekend. Now go and eat well.

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