Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The Imperfect Loaf
Truth be told, I still make imperfect loaves of bread. With sourdough there are so many variables it is nearly impossible to achieve duplicate results from batches to batch.
Some variables that affect the finished product are:
*the fineness or coarseness of the grind of the flour
*amounts of water
*the slightest variations in measurements
With practice I have gotten to the place where I can make adjustments to the starter and batter as I go, correcting what might go wrong.
If I haven't made a specific recipe in a while I may have an imperfect loaf the first time around and a perfect loaf the second. I recently made my Mock Rye Bread using a refrigerated starter instead of a room temp starter. Refrigerated starters can be deceiving as the chilled starter may appear thicker than it truly is. This one seemed too thick so I added more water to the starter to make it the texture I remembered it should be.
The loaf rose but not as much as I had remembered it rising. When I sliced open an end of the loaf, the texture was a bit dense. The holes were not as large as they should be.
I continued slicing as I wanted to freeze some and found the closer I moved to the center of the bread the wetter the top was. That's when I realized the batter was too wet and I made a mental note not to add as much water next time.
Some pieces near the center were almost squishy.
I continued slicing and lay the slices on a rack to dry out for a day. Then I froze half of them and stored the others in a container lined with a cloth. They toasted up fine, the taste is great albeit a bit dense.
You can see that the tops of many slices came apart. I saved those pieces, let them dry out and dropped them in the bottom of a bowl of soup. Perfect!