I was really happy with my first attempt at making sourdough, it has made great toast this week, but I wanted to try it again, but slightly differently. I had heard of making a sponge the night before, so I looked into this method for my next bake. Slightly more time consuming yes, but well worth a try.
My recipe and instructions for this bake came from this blog for Baking a Sourdough Loaf using an Overnight Sponge.
The recipe is in three distinct steps:
- Make a starter
- Make a sponge
- Make the dough
As I already have a starter I just needed to make the sponge + then dough.
The sponge is essentially an extension of the starter, allowed to ferment for another 12 (ish) hours, with a few other ingredients.
- 85 g Starter
- 112 g Water (I would rethink some of this)
- 157 g White bread flour
- 12 g Rye flour
- 7 g Malt extract
- 175 g White bread flour
- 7 g Salt
- 37 g Butter
- 7 g Sugar
- 285 g Water (I would rethink some of this)
When the sponge is ready, mix all of the dough ingredients together and leave to double in size, in a warm place.
Knock back, and split the dough into the required weights ( I am making a single loaf, so nothing to split).
Leave to double in size again.
Knock back and shape into desired shape – a boule in my case, and leave to rise for a third time, until doubled in size.
All the way through the bake I was certain that the dough was too wet. In reality it was. I buckled and added another 100 g of flour to the dough, but it was still too wet. This was all fine until the shaping. The dough just stuck to everything and anything, making it impossible to shape. Secondly it ran the moment I got it on the baking stone, loosing any shape it had. So I was left with a slab.
My second problem, unrelated to this recipe, is that the oven broke yesterday, well at least the fan part of it. We still have a small ‘top’ oven (glorified grill), but I had not tested it before. The temperature was off, and there wasn’t enough space for a container of water (/steam) at the bottom.
So the bake turned out as expected, a stiff crust, a flat loaf, but surprisingly tasty. The crumb had the lovely open texture I have been looking for, and the sour taste of the starter is starting to come through. Until the starter matures a bit more I don’t expect much depth too it, but the way my second starter is smelling I will get some good results from that. (Additionally as you can see slashing the loaf didn’t work)
In conclusion, it all went wrong, and yet amazingly still produced a tasty, if impractically shaped, loaf.
It somewhat reminds me of the adage :
“Some days you get the bear, other days the bear gets you”
Which in turn reminds me of another very important bear based adage applicable to this situation:
“When fighting a bear, you don’t stop when you get tired, you stop when the bear gets tired”
In essence I may have been beaten this time, but I will try again, until I get what I want. Awesomely tasty sourdough.