i did an experiment today with the white bread recipe i usually make. i wanted to make a tomatoey dough with pizza flavors, so i substituted spicy V8 for the milk, olive oil for vegetable oil, and garlic salt for the salt, and added some pizza seasoning to the flour.
the recipe works out like this:
- 1 c active sourdough starter
- 6.5 c bread flour
- 1 c spicy V8
- 1.25 c water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp garlic salt
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp pizza seasoning
- pepperoni and mozzarella cheese (optional)
make the bread in the exact same way as the white bread recipe referenced above. when it comes time to roll up the dough into a loaf, first add pepperoni and cheese, then roll it. i made one with the filling, one without.
during the first rise which should be 10-30 mins, i think i let it sit for about an hour. i probably should have shortened it as something weird happened later. after a proof of about 1.25 hours, which is shorter than usual for this bread, the un-filled loaf got all lumpy and holey. i didn’t notice when this happened, but my guess is that it somehow got over-proofed and started to deflate.
when it came time to bake, the un-filled one took the regular 25-30 mins, but the filled one took much longer to get up to 190-195 degrees. i probably baked it an additional 15-20 minutes – measuring the internal temperature about every 5 mins.
the finished product is more orange colored in the middle with a hint of pizza flavor, but not too much. i think next time i’ll basically add more of the flavorings: pizza seasoning, tomato juice, filling. i was thinking about trying pizza sauce instead of juice, but would probably need to add more water as well.
haven’t tried yet, but i’m guessing this would make a nice grilled cheese with mozzarella and pepperoni…
i like the sourdough conversion of white bread that i’ve made a few times, but since it takes 12 hours, i looked for another version which might be faster. i ended up trying King Arthur Flour’s Rustic Sourdough Bread recipe.
i got a fancy new digital scale for christmas, so you’ll see that featured in posts from now on. it also means that my weight measurements will switch to grams, and since it has a tare function, the weight will be the ingredients alone, not including the container.
the recipe calls for instant yeast but i wanted to try it without, and it did work fine, just took a little longer… which kind of defeated the purpose of looking for a faster recipe. total it took about 8 hours from mixing to baked bread, which is better than the 16 or more the other takes.
- 1 cup “fed” sourdough starter (227g)
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 600g bread flour
combine all the ingredients. i started with the starter and added everything except the flour – adding that last so i could only add as much as necessary. i added about 530g of flour before it came together, then used more during kneading to keep it from sticking.
after kneading, let the dough rise until ripe – the recipe says 90 mins, but that’s with instant yeast – mine took about 4.5 hours.
form the dough into two loaves. the original recipe was for a “rustic” loaf but i decided to make one in a pan. i used the same flatten-then-roll-up method i’ve used before for the pan loaf, and just made a generally loaf-shaped loaf for the other one and put it on some parchment paper to rise and make it easier to transfer to the oven. i let it rise for at least 3 hours, til it was very fluffy, then sprayed the top of each loaf with water, cut some slashes into the top of each loaf, then baked each loaf for about 25-30 mins at 425. for the rustic loaf, i placed the parchment paper on my pizza stone.
both loaves baked nicely and tasted very similar to the other bread i’ve made. as you can see below, the rustic one didn’t last long as we ate about 4 slices while it was hot!
i typed this up in an email to some friends i gave some starter to.
there’s 2 ways to feed sourdough – by weight and by volume, and there’s also a few possible situations – counter-top or fridge.
first rule is to always double it when you feed it. this could be after you have used some or if you just need more for your recipe.
second rule is to always feed it every 12 hours if it’s on the counter. i’m not sure how often in the fridge, but i’d say every 2 to 4 weeks. you might find some clear liquid on the top if it’s been in the fridge for over 4 weeks – it’s alcohol (hooch?) that you can either dump off or stir back in. you should be able to tell by smell if it’s gone bad.
third rule is to feed it equal amounts of flour and water by weight. or by volume, 1/2 as much water as flour.
so on to the details. when i keep mine on the counter, here’s what i do. (i use a scale to weigh mine, but i’ll describe how using volume too.)
- weigh another identical jar, or otherwise know empty jar weight, so you know how much to subtract (the jar i use is about 280g or 10oz)
- weigh the jar with sourdough. let’s say it’s 380g so there’s 100g of sourdough starter.
- if you’re just feeding it to maintain it, dump out half
- add back flour/water equal to the weight of the sourdough you have in the jar currently. so if you dumped out half, you have 50g left. you would need to add 50g of “food” back which would be 25g flour, 25g water. if you didn’t dump out half, you have 100g of starter so you would add 100g more “food” – 50g flour and 50g water.
- stir it up
now if you don’t weigh it, you can use volume. the jar probably has markings on it for cups or fl oz
- stir up the starter to remove all the bubbles otherwise you won’t get a good volume measurement
- read how much you have – say 1 cup
- if you’re feeding it to maintain it, dump out half
- add back “food” so the amount of flour is the same as the starter, and the water is half as much. so if you dumped out half, you have 1/2c left. you would need to add 1/2c flour and 1/4c water. make sure the flour is very loose or you’ll have too much. if you didn’t dump out half and you’re just doubling your starter to get more, you’d start with 1c of starter, and add 1c of flour and 1/2c of water.
- stir it up
another thing to know is the different stages:
- just fed – obviously this is just after you added flour/water and stirred it up. it isn’t very usable at this point, but if you’re going to refridgerate it, this is the best time to put it in the fridge.
- active – this is a few hours after you feed it – it should get very bubbly and double in volume. this is a good time to use it to bake something.
- mature – this is hours after it’s active, the bubbles won’t be strong enough to keep it inflated, and it will fall back down in volume. it can still be used in some recipes but won’t rise much. it will have small bubbles on the top and eventually will have a layer of clear liquid on the top (alcohol) but you can stir that back in before feeding it again.
to use it from the counter top, just feed it ahead of time and get the volume up to what the recipe calls for, then use it when it’s active.
to use it from the fridge – take it out, let it warm up to room temp, feed it probably two cycles to make sure it’s very active again before baking with it. so if you want to use it out of the fridge, take it out the day before and feed it.
if you just used it and want to store it, just feed whatever is left according to the instructions above, then put it back in the fridge.