When my parents were married 45 years ago, they honeymooned in San Francisco and until recently, not quite sure but within the last six years, some of the best sourdough bread on the planet came from San Francisco. On one of their yearly trips back to the city they love, they returned home to report that our beloved source of sourdough bread was no longer to be found anywhere. I was deeply disappointed but began the search of decent sourdough.
None was to be found however. It was either to dry, barely sour, or just a poorly conceived excuse to charge slightly more for “artisan” bread. Fed up, I tried a couple of starters of my own over the next several years and they were reasonably good attempts. Still not what I was searching for however. So I let one starter after another dwindle as my interest died.
Then two weeks ago I was inspired. I through out the pre-existing recipes for starter and set about on creating my own sourdough starter. Energized, inspired, and salivating I set out to create the perfect sourdough starter and bread. So, I grabbed that huge empty pickle jar and lid, the bread flour, yeast, sugar, and liquid and began my science experiment. After dumping all the ingredients in the jar and stirring, I set it aside, uncovered, for a week. When I remembered, I stirred it and the lovely sour smell and bursting bubbles were my reward. A week later, the starter was ready.
I dumped a cup of starter in the mixer, tossed in the ingredients for bread and started the mixer. After letting it rise, I popped the bread into the oven. Soon, hubby was wandering around the kitchen asking what that wonderful smell was and how soon could he have a piece. The whole house smelled amazing.
The bread was perfect. It was so sour it had an almost cheese like flavor to it but not so sour that it was inedible. The next morning the smell of sourdough bread smothered in butter and freshly brewed coffee was the perfect start to a busy week of vacation. The loaf didn’t last long, but then again homemade loaves of bread are meant to be eaten and enjoyed within a few days.
While the bread was baking, I replenished the starter and put it in the refrigerator for the first time. I ran out of milk in the process and had to use water, I’m not hopeful it will brew the same magic but hey, sometimes a cook makes do with what there is versus what she wants. This morning, I used the starter again and the results are pictured above. This loaf was not nearly as tangy but still sour. I know what to attribute that too and so this morning only milk went into the starter when I replenished it, hopefully resulting in a much more sour loaf next time.