This is a recent obsession. Scott and I had Thanksgiving brunch at Oceanaire in Denver and they had the fluffiest, softest, most sour, most delicious sourdough bread. The crust was thick and crunchy and the inside was like a cloud.
I’m dead set on re-creating it.
I’ve mailed out Oregon for a starter, made a starter on my own, and also obtained starter from a neighbor. At the moment I have three starters (soon to be four) going:
- Neighbor’s starter – whole wheat
- Neighbor’s starter switched over – moving her starter over to all purpose flour
- AllRecipes dry yeast starter – homemade from scratch with all purpose flower
Here is what I’ve learned about starters:
- Cover starter with moist towel or saran wrap. Covering it with anything else will allow a dry crust to form on top of your starter.
- Use less water than flour when feeding your starter to yield a more sour starter.
- Brush dough before baking with water for crispy outside and with butter or egg for a soft, yellow crust.
- When feeding starter use .5 parts to 1 parts water to 1 part flour. Some sources recommend less water than flour, others recommend a 1:1 ratio. If you remove a cup of starter, for example, feed it with .5 cups water and 1 cup flour. (You can use weights to be more exact. Too complicated for me.)
- Do not use any metal to house the starter or bread dough unless it is stainless steel. Any other metal will react with the dough and quite literally poison your bread (and it smells…I learn from experience!).
- Starter and dough that rises/grows in cooler temperatures (and therefore takes longer to rise) produces a more sour bread.
- Dough that is allowed to proof twice (preferably in a cooler climate) will produce a more sour bread
- Starter not living in your fridge should live in an environment that is between 70-85 degrees. As a benchmark, my oven turned off and with or without the 9ven light on is consistently at at 90 degrees. Too hot for the starter. No bueno.
- Score the bread dough before baking. This tells the dough where to rise to. I forgot to score one of mine and it basically produced a cupcake-like effect with a “bloomed” bread with a fat base and skinnier poof on top.
This is by far my favorite resource on sourdough: Cultures For Health.