I’ve also recently been nurturing a sourdough starter. Everyone’s into sourdough these days but the husband has never been a fan of sourdough (and me, I’m ok about it) so I never thought about making it. I was curious about starters though, the idea of wild yeast is always kinda fascinating!
It was only after watching The Chef Show on Netflix (if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it! It has Jon Favreau and Roy Choi and they just always seem to have such fun together, whatever it is that they’re cooking or baking), that I decided to go borrow the Tartine Bread book.
Tartine is a famous Bay Area bakery that I’ve never been to 😛 but well you can’t live in the Bay Area without knowing about it I guess! It’s now in LA and even in Seoul.
At any rate, I watched Jon Favreau make the sourdough bread (they also make pizza flatbread which looks delicious) with Tartine’s Chad Robertson (who wrote the book). And something about that made me go, huh I want to give it a try too.
And so I did.
This book is a good read for learning more about sourdough, at least the part about starters and leavens, as it gave me a bit more understanding about it than some recipes I was reading online. For instance, he describes the cycle of the starter, how the aroma changes etc. As well as how they gave the recipe and some dutch oven combo cookers (which he recommends people use to bake the bread in), to several test bakers, some who had never baked bread before, and how they modified it to suit their schedules.
Some of his instructions at the beginning are a bit vague – the feeding of the starter bit, which was along the lines of “replace it with equal amounts of water and the flour blend”, which is fine but really, as a beginner, I wanted to know, yes is it like 50g? 200g? So I ended up following the feeding instructions I found online, which was 60g of each.
I followed his recipe for country bread (a less detailed version is available on their website). And it is a bit time-consuming, with the first rise (bulk fermentation) of 3 hours requiring “turning” the dough every half hour – thankfully, in the container, so it’s not messy. The second rise (in tea-cloth covered bowls) is 3-4 hours.
I didn’t have a dutch oven or combo cooker, so I shaped then gently tumbled the dough onto a parchment and slid it onto the preheated pizza tray. I also had a preheated tray at the bottom of the oven which I poured some boiling water into.
And I think it was quite a successful first sourdough bake.
It didn’t have too much of a sourdough taste thankfully. So the husband said he was ok with eating it. The 7yo didn’t like it but the 9yo agreed that it was delicious. The recipe does say that if you leave the second rise in the fridge, it will develop a stronger taste – obviously I’m not going to do that.
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