Jigme Datse Yli-Rasku — Blog — 2021 — January 27 - Bread Making

On Friday (January 22) I started to make some sourdough bread from absolute scratch (I had no starter to work with). I started making the starter early on the day, and then on Monday night about 23:00 I took out the bread from the oven.

A big part of the time making this bread came from getting the starter ready to use. I figure it is about 18 hours, once you have an active starter to be able to make a batch of bread.

That is kind of the quick version of this. I want to expand somewhat.

If I were a good blogger, I would have pictures of the whole process which would show up here, and give you a nice visual experience of the whole thing.

Unfortunately I've not really been taking pictures, and most of what I have been taking have not been documenting any kind of process. Maybe next time I will have pictures to add to it.

I do have some pictures which I had grabbed my camera to see if I could sort of identify some birds, which ended up being not what happened, but still might have got some pictures worth keeping and sharing.

What Started This Process

I was flipping through a magazine which was recently purchased, and noticed the waffles in it, and commented on it, and then realised that we didn't have any starter, and decided that for starter to happen, I probably needed to make it myself.

I think just a little after having decided that, I just started to make a fresh starter.

Making the Starter

The starter is created by mixing up water and flour, and letting that slurry sitting at room temperature (actually a bit over room temperature ideally. (85°F or 29°C)).

I started with rye flour, and fresh tap water (don't make that mistake, I got away with it, but leave water out for feedings as that allows some of the treatment product to evaporate off). I used 1 cup of each.

After about a day I added another cup of each, and in between would stir every 8-16 hours or so.

I gave it a third feeding, splitting it into two different jars. The original jar ended up being more active so I continued with that for the making of the bread.

Making the Bread

On Monday morning, I ended up deciding that I should just go ahead and start with making the bread. I knew that it was about 15 hours before being able to put it in the oven. And most of that time is leaving the first proof to prove for 12 hours, which easily can be done overnight.

I wanted bread, "now" so decided not to leave it until the evening to start the first proof.

First Proof

I am not totally clear on the instructions of the first proof which are supposed to be followed but what I did, was I grabbed a cup of starter and added 3 cups of flour, and 3 cups of water to it, in the bread bowl (smaller version which we have, but it was big enough for this process).

I mixed that well (so I wasn't seeing any dry flour) and put it on top of the fridge with a dry towel over top of it (dry because the evaportive cooling causes this to go slower, but you don't really want the first proof to dry out).

After about 15 hours (I think) I finally got back to it to manage to work toward making the dough for the bread.

Making the Dough

I followed (more or less) the recipe in World Sourdoughs from Antiquity by Ed Wood, for "Finnish Rye Bread".

Mainly it was that I wasn't entirely sure about what the first proof would be considered. Beyond that, and needing way more white flour than it calls for (I think between 2 and 3 times as much, maybe even more than 3 times), I followed it quite closely.

This I allowed to rise for about 3 hours. I wasn't really feeling that I had allowed it to rise enough, because it wasn't looking quite right for what I thought should go in the oven.

I then turned on the oven at 400°F (that's what our oven in Canada reads), and made slashes in the top.

The slashes I put a double edged razor blade on a skewer, as it seems to work fairly well, and I have enough that this is not a problem.

Yes use a clean razor blade, and then put it in your sharps container...

Baking the bread

I had 2 loaves, on 2 different trays so I put it in on different levels and swapped them after about 25 minutes.

I gave them about 25 more minutes of baking. I checked on them a bit early and the smaller loaf seemed to be ready, and the larger one needed a little more time.

The bread came out of the oven about 23:00 or 11PM. This is later than when I want to be heading to bed, but I could then go to bed.

I put them on wire racks, and left them out over night...

Testing the bread

The following morning we had bread for breakfast. I tried it with just butter and it was quite nice. I wanted to give our marmalade (Sevile orange marmalade) as I felt it might work, but it didn't quite.

The Balderson chedar was quite good on it.

The bread ended up fairly strongly flavoured, but not really much sourness to it. The crust was a bit too much crustyness, and the crumb was a little too dense. The flavour was really fantastic (but not really a jam type bread).

I kept getting told how the bread deals with stuff which I don't think the person who was saying it, had around to test. I am one who would say it would be nice to try with stuff like such and such. But until I have tested it, I won't make a conclusion...

Conclusion on the Bread

I think this was pretty successful. There's room for improvement, and I'd like to better be able to know how the process is going without having to refer to notes, and books and stuff.

More bread will be made. Next time I think I'll start with the second jar of starter. They should be very similar, but I am not sure they were behaving as similarly as I expected them to.

I probably will make another batch of the same bread. The changes I'm considering is having more white flour to hopefully lighten the crumb a bit, and cooking at a lower temperature to help reduce the strength of the crust.

The other thing that I noticed a bit of, was the loaf was made and had a crack because it wasn't properly sealed at the edges (the loaf gets folded over to make it).

Plans for Bread

I think probably in a week or two I will try to make another batch of this bread. It's a long process, and some of it is physically demanding. It might be a bit of why I'm feeling not so well right now.

It might not turn out to be something I can do that often, but if I keep swapping the starters as I make it, and every 4-6 weeks manage to do a batch I think it can end up being well worth it.

Plans for Site

A few things have changed since I last did anything. I had noticed that I didn't like that there wasn't a link to the main support page in the footer or I think in the header, but that's sort of by design.

I put that up, and I think that I should have the pages updating the footer and header for all pages.

I have changed how I'm handling the source files, and I've gone from having it take several seconds to update the whole site, to less than a second to check that nothing needs to be updated.

I was frustrated that I was waiting for those several seconds if I was needing to update only a little bit, and then test. This should make things a lot better.

Future Posts

I want to post about my experience with having the Switch, and trying different games with it. What I'm liking. What I'd like to be able to play, but it just doesn't work. And what (if it happens) I have decided I really don't want to play.

I also want to put some more individual reviews or whatever of the games that I have played.

More food posts.

Update about the changes I've made to the tools.

I've got a bit of a hidden todo section (and done section) which I'm mostly using as a place to keep on track with what I'm doing here so that when I do the update posts, I have some documentation besides the site itself to have an idea of what I've done.

It's not well hidden, but I'm not linking to it either.

Of course... There will be more of the same. Book posts, photography posts, site updates. All of that will happen.

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