I was given a lovely gift from a friend of a friend a few weeks ago, her German sourdough recipe and two jars of her starter. Well, I finally got a chance to make the bread and it works! Actually it worked a little too well and I ended up with overflowing tins and a sink full of dough, but I’m fine with that 🙂
The bread appears to have cooked up rather nicely, I just cut into it and I think it still needs a few more minutes of cooking – has a sort of doughey feel to it, but it looks good (and it rose!)
In other news, my sock is going well, I’ve turned the heel successfully (at least I think it’s successfully) and I’m now just pottering along knitting the length of the foot before I decrees for the toe.
I’m having huge issues making bread and it’s not getting better and I’m starting to get rather peeved by the experience. My sourdough starter failed to meet my expectations it simply didn’t rise nearly enough and didn’t cook sufficiently through, remaining sticky on the inside.
The bread’s I’ve made with active dried yeast have also failed to rise sufficiently. I’ve tried everything I can think of and nothing. It seems that all bread making supplies these days are catering for bread makers, those stupid machines that take all the real joy out of home made bread and taste nothing like real home baked bread. All the research I’ve been doing on line is for nothing. I have found no sources of fresh yeast (bakers yeast) in New Zealand, and no-one seems to know what I’m talking about. The problem with bread rising is always in the yeast, at least that’s what I keep being told, grrr!
We return to New Zealand in a few days and so my mind is turning back to all homesteading things once more. One of the things that on my mind a lot at the moment is bread or specifically bread flour and is there a difference between “bread flour” and “all-purpose/plain” flour? The answer is, according to my research, is yes.
Bread flour has certain additives to improve the volume and texture of the bread, in the case of bread flour those additives come in the form of added protein, malted barley (to help the yeast) and vitamin C or potassium bromate to help form gluten (source). I’m not sure I want to be adding a possible carcinogenic to my food (which is what potassium bromate can be if too much is added and thus not used up in the cooking process).
Apparently, if you just add about a teaspoon of wheat gluten (or seitan – same thing) to your recipe it essentially has the same effect.
My other task is to track down on NZ source of compressed or bakers yeast.
I haven’t made any rye bread in ages so I’m pretty pleased at how well these loaves turned out. We find that if we make two loaves at once it saves on work, we have fresh bread for several days and the rest goes into the freezer. This way we only need to bake bread once a week to service our needs and I’m free to do something fancier without feeling like I’m always baking.
We took some of this batch over to our neighbours for dinner last night which went down well (as only fresh bread straight from the oven can).