About 5ish years ago I started my quest to make the perfect sourdough bread… well at that time it was just to make sourdough. I had met someone who’s husband made it all the time for 30+ years. She was saying that he really like the old pampered chef pottery bread pans and she was unable to find them anymore. We were at knitting group, so I say to her. “I have one of those pans and I have a love/hate relationship with it. It’s the wrong size for most of my baking. I want to like it, but I really don’t.” So I suggested a trade, sourdough starter and info on what to do for my pan.
That began my time of trial and tribulation with this bread. I followed all the information, and my bread would split. It would not rise… I would neglect my starter and start over. It has really been this ongoing struggle. My oldest has been working with me on this for the past two years. Which was about the time I found Cultures for Health. So I followed their guide for making sourdough. I proofed my starter for a day and a half. Still my bread did not turn out. I think the problem for their loaves, is the kneading. I have been baking bread for about 20 years now, and I still have never achieved the “window pane” test. I am telling you my son and I took turns, we kneaded this bread for 30 plus minutes. It was crazy. It would just not rise enough. We are talking 12 or more hours. The other downside is the amount of flour you need to proof the starter. I’m not saying that their method won’t work, but in my house it takes WAY too much effort to make it happen.
Again, I let my starter go dormant and then revived it. I finally came across Nourished Kitchen and their recipe for no knead sourdough bread. So I tried it. I used white flour and white whole wheat flour as that was what I had. The dough barely held it’s shape. I really thought that it was going to be awful. However, I followed my instructions, popped the bread into my preheated dutch oven and waited 30 min. When I took the lid of I was floored. I called my son over, he was floored. We were both SO excited. It worked. On the Nourished Kitchen site, she calls this her daily bread. We make it several times a week and have started using her ratio for feeding the starter. It is such a simple and rustic loaf.
So this week, after having success with the no knead recipe for the past month or so, I decided to tackle the original again. I would link to the recipe, but it’s a photo copy of a book from 30 or more years ago. It has more ingredients like powdered milk and some sugar. I decided to use honey this time and took some started out of my big crock to proof per the original recipe. This is VERY active starter. I started early in the day, you know, to give myself a LONG rise time. It was magic. Just like the book said, 2 hours and it was ready for the oven. It did not split, it had an amazing texture!!!! It was a sandwich loaf. All that and my son says, “I like the other one better.” There is something to be said about simple.