Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Home-Ground Flour and Sourdough

A more prudent person would have separated these into two separate adventures, but home-ground flour and active doubling-itself sourdough arrived in my kitchen on the same day, so what's an excited baker to do? Bake no-yeast bread with home-ground flour, of course.

Home-Ground Flour

Alanna Kellogg, of A Veggie Venture and Kitchen Parade, offered me a "real flour experience." That turned out to mean a large tin of wheat and a grinder. We made the exchange over a lovely lunch in downtown Kirkwood yesterday afternoon and I came home with a new toy for the kitchen.

Grinding a cup or so of flour turned out to be easy and quick. The flour texture is varied which makes beautiful flecks in the dough.
Sourdough Starter
For a couple of days, I'd been maintaining some of my starter (also originally from Alanna) using the directions at the Sourdough Home website. By yesterday afternoon, I had gobs of the stuff growing and bubbling in a bowl on the counter. The Sourdough Home site is all about making bread without yeast--all the rise comes from the sourdough starter. That's been my goal since this spring when I started thinking about how one would make an entirely local loaf of bread -- it would have to be sourdough to avoid the use of commercial yeast. The ultimate bread for that purpose would be A 100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, but I used some discretion and didn't go for that as my first no-yeast and first home-ground flour loaf.
Black Canyon Sourdough Bread
Instead, I started with a loaf that would use a high percentage of non-local bread flour and only a little of the home-ground whole wheat flour: Black Canyon Sourdough Bread. I made just half a recipe because of my other challenge. Besides all the new tools and techniques, "fix the oven" has not yet made it to the top of the priority list. So, I needed to do the final rise and bake in the bread machine, which will only bake one loaf at a time. The photo is of the dough going in for its final rise.

It turned out surprisingly well. The bread has a nice texture and that distinguishing sourdough flavor. The only problem was from the bread machine. The loaf was small so only the side and bottom crusts were browned. The top of the loaf is pale. Next time, I might try using a 3/4 recipe instead of a half one to see if that improves the baking.

...and some English Muffins, too

That bread only used a tiny amount of the sourdough starter, so I mixed up some Sourdough English Muffins last night, too. The recipe calls for all white flour, but I snuck in a cup of my home-ground flour. I didn't have an English Muffin cutter so I cut my dough into twelve large squares with a knife. They still look and taste like an English Muffin.


Debbie said...

Good for you! It looks fantastic. I've got some sourdough starter on its way to me, and I have a way to grind flour as well, so I may be trying this soon too -- your success has encouraged me!

Alanna said...

My mother is beaming from heaven! So glad the wheat has a new home!

Lori said...

Wow! I have a particular soft spot for english muffins for breakfast, and yours look great!

So far I've been using store-bought yeast in my no-knead bread, since I'm not sure I'll remember to feed a starter every day. Your success may just convince me to try a sourdough of my own...

Joy said...

Thanks,everyone! Lori, let me know if you want some starter.

Lori said...

Hmm, you're tempting me. I've now made exactly five loaves of bread, with slowly increasing success. After the first loaf, which was a semi-disaster, I stopped for a while until I found this website. It seemed to be a bread that even I could make, so I bought the book a couple of weeks ago. The premis is that you make a large batch (3-4 loaves worth) of wet dough, then stow it away in the refrigerator until you need it. When you want to make bread, it takes about 2 minutes of work, 1-1/2 hours of rest/rise time, then 1/2 hour of baking time and voila - fresh, tasty bread! At any rate, I've had great success with their basic recipe, and want to make it through some of their more complex ones - brioche is the first one that comes to mind, because you can use it to make all kinds of yummy things.

So I think I'll pass on your offer, as I'd like to perfect the current method before I move onto something more complex. At least for now. But I do thank you for your kind offer, and may just take you up on it in a month or so if that's okay...

Joy said...

Sounds good, Lori!