As of today, my starter is a week old. Two days ago I started the process of making bread using it after feeding it and leaving it at room temperature for two days. It is rather vigorous, able to double up within two hours. Hence, the decision to bake using my relatively young starter with no added yeast.
The recipe I got from Breadtopia.com. It is rather to my liking as it is quite simple to make. Making the sponge dough takes 12 hours at room temperature, then the first rise for 24 hours in the fridge and a final rise after shaping for 5 hours at room temperature. The timetable makes it easy to schedule it around the working days and the fact that it does not require a very specific temperature is great in my opinion. Of course, I have my doubts since I am pretty sure that temperature plays a major role in proofing. Nonetheless, without a proofing oven or even a banneton, I would not be able to do much about temperature even if I want to.
I could not resist peeking as the dough rise. I did my sponge dough in the oven as it keeps it covered without fuss. Using the same bowl, I covered it with a large plate and dumped it in the fridge for 24 hours with regular peeking. The last part is the most difficult. After shaping it, I left it on the table to rise covered with a damp towel. First mistake: the towel stuck to the dough, necessitating several minutes of delicate disengagement to prevent deflating the bread.
Second mistake: leaving it on the counter. After 5 hours, the dough has relaxed so much that it is very soft and unwieldy. It proves near impossible to maneuver onto the baking sheet. I deflated the first two loaves before discovering that using a flour covered spatula to slowly remove it from the table top is the best technique to avoid deflating the bread. Even so, oven spring was great and even the deflated loaves turned out with good crumbs.
Of course, I made some adjustments to the recipe I got from Breadtopia.com. It is virtually impossible to get spelt flour in Malaysia and you will have to shell out a pretty buck for rye flour. Hence, instead of those flours, I used only whole wheat flour, bread flour (in lieu of rye) and all purpose flour (in lieu of spelt). My novice mistake: I poured all the water recommended into the flour before realizing that the different flours used may have affected the liquid required. Hindsight is always 20/20. I ended up using nearly 200g extra flour to create a manageable flour. Oh well, at least it is savable.
The bread itself is rather sour, a pleasant surprise considering my starter is quite young. It, of course, lacked slightly in flavour due to the mix of flours used. Nevertheless, I am heartened by it turning out quite well, especially since I read so much about failing he first few loaves of sourdough bread because of a weak starter.
I guess that’s all for my first sourdough experience. One side note, the dough was supposed to be for one boule. My oven is small and will definitely not fit. Therefore I quartered it and still ends up with huge loaves. Next time, I must at least halve the recipe as I really doubt we will be able to finish it before spoiling. Goodnight!