Saturday, January 14, 2006


And about 24 hours later:

That's my completed loaf of sourdough. It's darn tasty, and is nice and tangy like it's supposed to be. I did a dance after tasting it. I will not elaborate any further on the dance, but suffice it to say, I was happy.

I first put together my starter back in November, and I was very good about feeding it for a while. Then I went away for Thanksgiving, and stuck the starter in the fridge... where it had been sitting, quite neglected, until yesterday. Yesterday morning, I decided to see if anything was still alive and kicking in there, so I fed it. The reply came back loud and clear from my little yeast colony: "Yes, we're still here. Put us in some bread, woman!"

They're an exuberant group of single-celled organisms. I say this because it's supposed to take about 12 hours for the starter to expand, and my guys got the job done in about 3 hours. Kind of scary... they could probably take over my apartment if they wanted to.

Anyway, the process was as follows:

  1. Take 2 tablespoons of starter, feed it, let it rise until doubled (should take 6-8 hours, mine took 1.5 hours)
  2. Discard half of the starter. Feed the remaining half and let it rise again (should take 6-8 hours, mine took 1.5 hours)
  3. Discard 1/4 of the starter. Use the remaining 3/4 in the bread dough. Knead for 5 minutes, let rest for 20 minutes, knead for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Let the dough rise for 1 hour and punch it down. Let the dough rise for another hour and punch it down again. Let rise until doubled (should take 4-5 hours, but this is where I went to bed, so I put it in the fridge overnight. Once I took it out of the fridge, it took about 4 hours.)
  5. Shape the dough without allowing it to deflate. Place the dough in a towel-lined colander and allow to rise until doubled (should take 3-4 hours, mine took about 3.5 hours. Incidentally, the colander is what made the nifty pattern that you can see on the finished bread).
  6. Gently turn the dough out on to a baking stone or baking sheet and bake. (35 minutes)
  7. Cool completely ("Completely"? I know I'm supposed to, but... c'mon, warm bread right out of the oven is one of life's great joys.)

So, there's what I've been doing for the last day or so. Well, that and watching figure skating. Today was one of those days where I look at figure skating and just think, "That's a lot of sequins for a man." And why is it that almost every male figure skater has really unfortunate hair? They make me want to grab some scissors or clippers, because a lot of them are dangerously close to achieving mullets.

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