Basic Sourdough

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I’d been looking forward to this section of the BBA from the beginning.  Part of the fun was going to be the making of the sourdough starter from scratch.  I did run into a little problem when I first got to this section however.  The formula for the starter called for pumpernickel rye (a course grind) flour.  I went all over LA looking for someone who carried it, but no one seemed to.  I almost gave up and ordered online, but by that time I had a trip to Portland coming up, so I decided I’d go out to Bob’s Red Mill and just pick it up there.

The first step in making the mother starter was to create a seed culture.  This process took 4 days.

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Day 1 – Pumpernickel and Pineapple Juice

For the first two days, instead of water, the instructions were to use pineapple juice to hydrate the flour.  This is to prevent the development of a bacteria that could inhibit the growth of the yeast later on in the process.

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Day 2 – Pumpernickel Rye, Bread Flour, Pineapple Juice


Day 2 introduced regular bread flour to the mixture.  Days 3 and 4 introduced more bread flour and goes back to water to hydrate the flour.


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Mother Starter

To create the mother starter, I added a portion of the seed culture to more flour and water and let it rise a few hours before putting it in the refrigerator over night for some slow fermentation.

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Basic Sourdough rising

I do need to figure out the best way to use my mother starter as formulated in the book.  I only need a small portion to make the formula for the basic sourdough loaves…so I ended up with a lot of extra starter that wasn’t used.  I need to work on understanding the baker’s formula calculations better, so I can keep a smaller starter.

For this batch I decided to shape the sourdough into baguettes:

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Proofing on the couche

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Fresh out of the oven…on my makeshift cooling rack.

I’ve since made a batch shaped in boules.  I did like the bread, though it was still pretty dense both times.  I think my starter may still need a few more times refreshing to let the flavor develop a little more, but you could definitely tell it was a sourdough bread.

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