Monday, October 10, 2011

Sourdough revisited

(This post more for my benefit than yours, really, to save my recipe.)

I'm back on the sourdough habit again. After a bit of a break, I tried to start it up over the summer, but it kept on falling over after a few days. This pineapple juice recipe seems reliable for kicking things off, but when I tried weaning onto water, it went flat and then mouldy shortly thereafter. Summer temps are pushing 30C in our house (though surely a bit lower downstairs), which may be a bit high.

After our typhoon trip, things had cooled down so I had another go and it worked much better:

My sourdough banana bread (above left) is probably closest to this recipe, in that I used oil rather than butter, and not too many fancy ingredients. I chose to make it on the plain and bready side, as it is intended for a trip to the mountains where I want a solid mouthful and nothing too friable or sickly-sweet. This is actually the second attempt, the first (made on Friday night) didn't make it through the weekend which must be a good sign. Since the interweb is full of ridiculous American-style instructions (who seriously measures things in cups?) I will note down what I did:

2 bananas, well mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
about 1/2 cup sourdough starter (that's ok since it lives in a cup, but you could also use 4floz)
2floz oil
several drops vanilla essence
16floz flour (yes I know, but it's easy to roughly measure in a jug).
2-3floz sugar
1tsp baking powder

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then fold together and pour into greased loaf tin. Cook for 1h at 180C.

The bread (right) is following the no-knead recipe presented here. I haven't got this quite sorted yet, I think I made the dough too wet and it is rather damp and heavy. This one also sat in the fridge for 12h (out of a 30h first rise) because we were out all day, which might not have helped...


Ian said...

I've tried the pineapple juice method too, but I could never get it to work. I always ended up having to bring the starter to life by adding a bit of commercial yeast (which defeats some of the fun of the method).

A cranberry-walnut, or even blue cheese-walnut variation sounds good for a hike.

Jonathan Gilligan said...

I used Maggie Glezer's rye-flour recipe and it worked fine for me. My culture's been going very nicely for about 8 years now and if it ever gets a bit weak, I just add a bit of rye flour (substitute for 10 percent of the wheat flour) when I feed it.

EliRabett said...

Where did you get the water from?

James Annan said...

Water is tap, with a filter (it's quite strongly chlorinated out of the tap). I did wonder if this was an issue and tried pre-boiled water too, with no better results. But it's fine now in the cooler temps. Came up nicely again today after a few days in the fridge.

Steve Bloom said...

OT: So easy, in the end? Of course it makes perfect sense, but why didn't this occur to anyone previously? Sage comments from the Proprietors would be much appreciated.

Also, I would be very curious to know what that enhanced heat flux looks like in the model.

Also also, this would seem to confirm concerns that cleaning up the air could result in some nasty blowback.

James Annan said...

I thought that someone else had "solved" the temp gradient problem by reinterpreting the proxies, but maybe not...

EliRabett said...

FWIW try some deionized water from the lab, but let it sit a couple of days so the carbonate equilibrates.

James Annan said...

First find a lab...

Maybe by next summer it will be sufficiently robust to manage (especially if it acclimatises).

EliRabett said...


Your comment on labs reminds Eli of the death of science by computers. Lots of places in the US are killing off their experimental programs in favor of more computers because the latter produce cheaper papers. Sad, because computers are a step from reality.