After months of weekly trials I am finally ready to share that I have successfully baked a loaf of sourdough bread! I’m not sure if sourdough has been or currently is an elusive creature for other bakers, but I for one, have been in pursuit of the perfect loaf for far too long.
Let me take you back a bit. Years really, back to the original Martha Stewart Shows, to a particular episode when Ms. Stewart toured a bakery that created famous sourdough made with yeast from red cabbage leaves. This episode has replayed in my mind for all these years, though I never attempted to recreate this bread. That was, until this year. You all know I strive to bake all our bread products. I have had great successes but have also baked up many a brick, most of which have been in an attempt to create the much coveted sourdough. My first attempt at a starter was using packaged yeast. It never really amounted to much, and suffered a sentence of a forgotten life in a jar in the back of the refrigerator. I eventually came back to that ridiculous idea of sourdough made from red cabbage leaves. After a quick internet search I found Two Sisters Bakery Recipes Blog and this article about their sourdough starter.
Even with the guidance of Two Sisters, I still struggled. Seems I could have a nice, airy loaf OR a great sour flavor but never both in the same loaf of bread. UGH! I nearly threw in the towel, convinced fresh-baked sourdough bread was just going to be “one of those things”. Before I was to fully resign myself to this failure I decided to give it another go, this time I would practice the often recurring skill required in homesteading – P.A.T.I.E.N.C.E. I mean, I have admitted to the knowledge that this is a key homestead skill, as shared in my Slow Down post. I reread the steps I have written down and hanging next to my work space in the kitchen. Opted to let this go ’round rest in the fridge over night and see what would come of it. Well….
This is what came out of the oven! The most perfect loaf of sourdough bread I have ever baked! The crust has just enough crunch, not so much as to be reminiscent of a crouton. The interior is chewy, moist and airy. Oh and the flavor, that delicious tang from a patiently (there’s that word again) soured starter. The ultimate pay off for my persistence, every week pulling the starter from the fridge, feeding it, letting it set 8-10 hours to activate, measuring, mixing, kneading, rising and baking.
This may seem a silly celebration, but it is mine to celebrate, and celebrate I shall, with another gratifying slice of my homemade, from scratch, with my organically grown red cabbage, sourdough bread!
Tell me, what homestead skills have been more trial than success for you? What was that elusive “thing” that you nearly gave up on?