I’ve been taking a break from sourdough baking recently. It’s a skill I so want to master, but I have been getting very limited motivational support from my past attempts at doing so. And being a graduate student, I have enough struggles to motivate myself in my daily work without facing them during my evenings and weekends, too.
But don’t worry, I’ll get back into it eventually, and you can take comfort from the fact that I am still maintaining my starter. In the meantime, let me tell you how I fared when I experimented with adding sourdough starter to my everyday bread dough.
The idea was that with this approach I would get the sourdough flavor AND a bread that would rise evenly. That sort of happened. I added about 2/3 of a deciliter sourdough starter when I was mixing the ingredients for my everyday bread dough, and then I let it rise for about 3 hours. I then took enough dough to make two baguettes, and put the rest of the dough in the fridge, as I always do with the everyday bread dough, because the flavor improves with a cold-rising and the dough stays good in there for two weeks.
I made the baguettes exactly like I normally do. And they DID rise. But the sourdough flavor was, although present, a bit less developed than in pure sourdough breads. In those, the sourdough creates this mellow, rich flavor that makes it hard to believe that it was made with only flour and water. My baguettes, however, merely tasted a bit sour. Not bad in any way, but also not good in the way I was hoping, even though they made nice pictures.
Now, you’re probably on the edge of you seat now, waiting for me to tell you that the remaining dough in the fridge matured beautifully, and that I have now solved all my sourdough problems. Alas. This did not happen. In fact, when I baked with the remaining dough two days later, the result was even sourer and still had no hint of that elusive rich flavor I desired.
As a result, I have to declare this experiment to be a failure as well. Oh well. One of these days, I’ll get it right. You’ll be the first to know, I promise.