breaking bread

baked loavesHave you ever wanted success so badly that you were certain failure wasn’t even a remote possibility? I was on cloud nine all last week thinking about my upcoming weekend bread baking project. Dreams of freshly baked sourdough loaves coming from my oven wiped all traces of pessimism from my mind. I had visions of myself delivering delicious, rustic loaves of bread to family and friends. Bread nirvana was in my future.

Little did I know that I was in for a huge slice of humble pie.

Saturday morning started out with promise. I re-activated my starter. Remember the starter? Measure 13.85 ounces of starter and discard the remainder. Add the feeder mixture (1 cup water and 1 cup flour) to the 13.85 ounces of starter and mix well. Let the mixture sit out for about 6 hours. It should look nice and bubbly. My starter was still alive!

active starter

With my starter alive and happy I moved on to make the dough. In a stand-mixer I combined:
200g starter
600g flour
14oz water

I mixed on low until everything was incorporated and let it rest for 40 minutes so that the flour could absorb the water. Then I added 10 grams of fleur de sel and mixed with the dough hook on low for about 5-6 minutes.
mixed dough

The dough needed to rest for about an hour, covered with a kitchen towel. After the hour passed, I began folding the dough.
dough folding I let it rest for an additional hour and then repeated the folding.

Up to this point, things were going well. I covered the dough (which was warm to the touch) with plastic wrap and placed the dough in the refrigerator with the hope that it would double in size in the next 12-24 hours. However, after 12 hours there was no change in the size of the dough and I was very concerned. I removed the dough from the refrigerator and started to knead it gently, hoping to warm it up and rally the yeast. I placed it back in the bowl and covered it with a towel by the heater. After a few hours passed my dough continued to rebel. It would not rise.

If dough doesn’t rise, what are you left with? And after all that hard work… I was frustrated and disappointed. I desperately needed a pep-talk. I called Bee. Who else could I call at 8am on a Sunday morning about dough failing to rise? She insisted that hope was not lost.

So, I got back in the saddle and shaped my little loaves. They looked so sad.
dough loaves They wanted to sleep in on a Sunday morning and I was begging them to wake up. Rise and shine already! I prayed for a miracle. But no, divine intervention was not on the schedule for me or my loaves. I was left with flat bread. Oh, the irony of this as Passover quickly approaches!

loaves final

As with all things in life, there is a silver lining to be shared. The loaves smelled terrific. I wish I could have captured the smell of the baking bread. And although they were too chewy and dense for a true sourdough loaf, the taste was spot on. I’m not sure what went wrong but I suspect that the problem was the refrigeration. Any suggestions? Feel free to leave me a comment with any tips or tricks. I’m going to continue to experiment with my starter again next weekend. Until then, I’ll dream of freshly baked loaves of sourdough all week long. Yes, I see bread nirvana in my future!



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