Tituba, the sourdough starter, relaxed this morning. It was time to bake, or cut and feed. I did both.
This is what she looks like when she’s happy and ready to work:
All it really takes is a spoonful, but for my little Dutch oven, I usually use about a half cup. This is more a personal quirk than real necessity. I dipped my cup and sloshed it into my favorite Pyrex bowl.
I added some water and flour. This is all you really need for basic bread, but it will taste like crap. For me, salt is an absolute must. I also added a glurg of olive oil. Then I stirred the batch up and added flour until I couldn’t stir any longer.
I used all purpose flour, and do about half the time. It’s what Tituba eats, and readily available. I use sexy flours too, but not today. Semolina is my favorite. It looked like this:
Now it’s time to knead in as much flour as needed. Tituba raises better with what’s called a loose dough than a stiff one. I’ve made free standing boules, and they always manage to spread on me. They taste great, but with Tituba it may take another day of raising to get a stiff dough up to size. Pour a little flour on the counter, flour my hands and go to work. Keep adding flour until it feels right.
When it feels right, I let it set while I wash the bowl and add a glurg of regular cooking oil. Then I tuck the bottom under while rotating the dough in my hands. When it forms a boule I wipe the top in the oil, wipe the sides and flip it right side up. Cover it and walk away. Time for Tituba to work her magic.
I left it for about five hours, then punched it down. This isn’t rapid rising dry yeast here, folks. Long slow rise times give the sour flavor. A night in the fridge works best, but I don’t have the time available. I have to work tomorrow. I formed the boule once more and plopped it in my Dutch oven; covered loosely so it can grow. In another four hours or so it looked about ready. With Tituba there’s always a bit of oven spring and I don’t want it to overflow. Then I have to cut it out of the mold, and it looks ugly.
This is what we get to have with dinner:
The bread will be more sour tomorrow. I know most of the science here, but not why this happens. Different starters will give different results.