I think I killed my "baby"…

This picture just about says it all. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the chunks of bread scattered carelessly across the countertop aren’t exactly a sign of success. Not that it was a complete failure either, my first attempt at making sourdough bread was definitely a learning experience. In fact, if we travelled back in time a couple hundred years, I think you would find that the people would quite enjoy the “density” of my final product. It reminds me of the “sink to the pit of your stomach” buns that I tried during my visit the historical fortress of Louisbourg last summer. That being said, we are now in the 21st century so I don’t think it would be a hot seller in any of today’s bakeries.
My biggest mistake of all was definitely a lack of patience. As much as I hate to admit it, after 2 hours when the dough had still hardly risen, I knew that this was not going to turn out quite as I had anticipated. Although my starter smells yeasty and bubbles like a mad science experiement, I know from its lack of rising that it still isn’t mature enough. However in another week, hopefully it will be a different story.

Quickly, I will run you through the process of making the dough. Yesterday morning I removed about 4 oz. of my starter and mixed it in a bowl with 2 oz. of flour and 1 oz. of water. By the time I got home last night, there were lots of bubbles so I added 8 oz. (around 2 cups) more flour, 4 oz. of water, 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 tsp. of salt. I stirred and kneaded until it formed a ball, adding more flour if necessary (if it was too sticky). I popped it in the fridge and went of to have sweet dreams of gorgeous, home-made sourdough (I wish!). In the morning, the recipe said to pull it out of the fridge and let it come come to room temperature. Again my impatience deterred me. I popped it in the oven (which was set as low as it could go) but it was still too hot. In short, I killed the yeast so when I actually went to bake it, there were no leavening agents. Hense the dense wad of dough.
Actually, I baked 2 loaves. But with the second one, I added the 8 oz. of flour etc. in the morning and allowed it to proof for around 3 hours, rather than refrigerating overnight. Out of the two, this one most definitely was more successful. Still dense, but rather than joining it’s friend in the garbage, I think I am going to use it to make bread crumbs.

The pieces I salvaged!
So that is what I have been doing for the past 18 hours! In case you are wondering, I am now loosely following the instructions from the “starter-along” series on Serious Eats. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/12/bread-baking-starter-along-how-to-make-sourdough-bread.html will provide you with a more in-depth recipe. At this point, I am disappointed about the outcome but I still have until Christmas to perfect it for my family. By then we should have something slightly more edible!

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