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Finally - managed to make a mistake [Jun. 18th, 2011|12:46 pm]
Okay, that is *so* not the best subject line, full of hubris and so forth. But - yesterday, I made two loaves of sourdough rye bread. And, cunningly, when the dough was "too sticky", I threw in *a lot* of flour. Not just tiny dustings that I knew would be soaked up instantly, forcing me to add more, and then more, etc.... no, I took the bag and sprinkled flour until I was sure an ounce, maybe 2, of flour came out. None of this 'tiny sprinkle at a time' stuff, no, I was wise to the ways of flour and dough, now!

And my loaves cracked along the bottom and the sides when baking. Not too badly - I still have two good loaves of bread. And the good news is, this means my sourdough starter is lively enough to swell up and crack over-dry/over-stiff dough. But, it means that I mis-read the texture as "still a bit wet" when I should have said "eh, a tiny bit too dry."

According to the references I've read, this is normal - whole grain flours are stickier than white flour, and after practicing mostly on white flour, I expected to reduce the stickiness more than I could.

I've also learned (as I suspected) that I *can* eat Gorgonzola cheese without it being grossly fuzzy-tasting, if it's sandwiched between two slices of sourdough rye.

(Eating fermented food with interesting living-critters in it, on bread made from a living colony, is an interesting thing to ponder. Philosophically, I like the kind of "my life intersecting with all these amazing organisms" but I suppose the yeasts, molds, and bacteria have a different opinion on the matter. Then again, so must the cows, pigs, and chickens.)

[User Picture]From: erin_c_1978
2011-06-18 08:52 pm (UTC)
Even if it cracked, sounds yummy!
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[User Picture]From: essaying
2011-06-19 04:30 pm (UTC)
Nearly all breads are better if the dough is a teensy bit sticky - makes for a moister bread. Rye needs to be nearly too sticky to handle, and you have to knead it for a long time (less gluten to develop). I have a sourdough rye recipe I adapted for my own taste, that's quite good - want it?
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2011-06-21 01:46 am (UTC)
Sure - but I'd also like to know something else.

How do you feed your sourdough? Do you feed equal amounts flour and water by volume, by weight, or do you have another method? I've seen people using different methods, and I realized that will change how the recipe works. If someone thinks that sourdough is 1 cup water, 1 cup flour, and they say "add one cup of starter" then if my sourdough is 1/2 cup water, 1 cup flour, I have to add some water.

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[User Picture]From: essaying
2011-06-21 04:58 am (UTC)
I go purely by the seat of my pants. I usually try for about equal amounts by volume, but if it's looking a little thick I use more water, and if it's kind of thin I add more flour. I also use white and whole wheat flours depending on which one I have more of. And if I've run the amount kind of low and have had to feed it a lot, I leave it out overnight; otherwise, I just stick it back in the fridge. It's extremely tolerant stuff.

But I also measure the recipes pretty much by instinct and touch - if it seems a little sticky after plenty of kneading I throw in a bit more flour, and if it's too dry I put in some water or oil.

I'm guessing this isn't too helpful :(
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