My last attempt (yesterday) actually went quite well. I made a few changes/modifications to the recipe that I think contributed to my success. So, lets get started!
First, lets revisit the firm starter.
2/3 cup Barm
1 Cup unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
1/8 to 1/4 cup warm water.
As usual, take the barm out of the fridge an hour before you're going to use it and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. You just want it to warm up a bit.
So let me start this off by saying that my primary source of flour has been bulk barn. They have assorted non-wheat flours, bread flour and high-gluten flour. In my first attempt I used rye flour and bread flour in the starter. In my second attempt I used bread flour and All-Purpose flour (since I ran out of bread flour). In both of these instances the starter didn't rise and really didn't do much except sort of melt as the gluten relaxed. THIS time, I was determined and used 1/2 cup of bread flour and 1/2 cup of high gluten flour. My reasoning for this is that high gluten flour has 40% protein content while the bread flour only has 12%. I was hoping the combination would give it more structure.
Well, it certainly did, however, I made a mistake by not adding enough water and the starter did not rise as much as it should have. If you're wondering about the colour, high gluten flour makes it a little bit yellow.
My advice at this point is to use the same flour ratio as I did, but make sure you add the full 1/4 cup of water. Mix it all together until you can knead it into a small ball of dough. Spray a medium bowl with oil and put the dough in the bowl. Cover your dough ball with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 4 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
This time, instead of putting the starter in the fridge over night, I immediately went into the next step and made the final dough.
4 to 4 1/2 cups of Bread Flour
2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups warm water
1 to 2 tsp bakers yeast.
The addition I made to this recipe was to add a little bit of bakers yeast. I was a little worried about it not rising again and I decided to spike it with a little bit of the commercial stuff.
Start off with your 1 1/2 cups of warm water and add the yeast to activate it. Again, check out my youtube video here to see what fully activated yeast looks like. Once it is ready to go, add the firm starter, salt and bread flour (starting with only 4 cups). Mix it until it all comes together, you may need to add more flour or water to get the right consistency. Sprinkle flour on the counter and knead the dough into a smooth ball. Put your dough ball into a large metal bowl coated in oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow it to rise for about 3 hours, or until it is doubled in size. Once doubled, punch the dough down to degas it and reform into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in the fridge overnight.
The next morning...
Dust your counter with flour and empty the dough onto the counter. It will still rise while it's in the fridge and may look a lot like this:
Cut it in half and form into balls, or whatever shape you would like. Place each piece of dough on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking oil.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to double in size.
Once it has doubled, set your oven to 450 F. Remove the plastic wrap and let the dough form a bit of a 'crust,' that is, allow the surface to dry out a bit. Once it is a bit dryer, you can put on some cuts on the surface to make it look cool. I did the following:
Put the loaves in the oven and cook them until they are done, about 20-30min. If you want to have a nice chewy crust, spray the dough several times while baking and also spray the sides of the oven with water in order to generate some steam. Here's what I got! Although the sour flavor wasn't as dominant as it was in my last attempt, it was still quite good. I will endeavor to find a way of making a pure sour dough, but in the mean time, this will do quite nicely! Happy Baking!
If there is something you would like to learn how to bake or cook, feel free to message me or leave a comment. I am open to new ideas!