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pretty on the outside...

Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create Sour Dough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with Sour Dough recipes from Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley as well as delicious recipes to use our Sour Dough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen’s Great British Food!

I like to think that I have pretty good luck with bread. The fear of yeast has never been something I’ve understood because every loaf I’ve made has magically turned out with minimal fussing. Keywords: luck, magically. There’s a lot I have to learn about bread.

Sourdough and starters had never entered my little yeast-perfect bubble of bread-baking. Truthfully, I didn’t know much about them, so this challenge definitely piqued my interest. Not being a fan of rye, I went for the French Country Loaf even though the host had rated the difficulty of the recipe as medium to hard. I got this…I’m good with bread!

Famous last thoughts.


I started the starter last Tuesday, and it grew, which was exciting! I even named it Brutus, the name of a lead character in Gentlemen Broncos. (Oh my holy crap, surveillance does… I hate those. This is ridiculous, that’s the most well guarded yeast factory I’ve ever seen!) …there’s a connection, see?


Er, anyway… Brutus was ready to use on Saturday, but I fed it a couple extra days so I could make the bread on Monday (yesterday). I woke up at 6:30am, refreshed the starter, and then started making the dough around 11am. It was the evening by the time it was finished, and here I thought I was totally successful because from the outside it looked nice to me!

deceptive bugger!

Ah, but then I cut into it and was greeted with this sad scene:

So sad. It even looks like a skull.

My theory is that the production leaven wasn’t ready when I used it. It wasn’t bubbling very much, but I thought that maybe it had already bubbled/eaten and deflated because I read in the forum thread that that was a possibility. It just seems weird that it looked like it rose on the outside, but didn’t inside. Any other ideas? It doesn’t really taste like sourdough either, and weirdly smelled like mac ‘n cheese while baking (yum?). I need to read my fellow DB’s posts to see if anybody else had similar issues.

Even though this wasn’t a success (and part of the challenge was to make something with our finished bread), I wanted to post about this because not everything goes as planned, and it’s what I’ve been working on for the past week! Last night I started feeding my starter Brutus again as from Day 1, so I’ll post an update on how this next loaf goes…

If you’d like to see the challenge recipes along with successfully baked loaves by the others, click here! Jessica made some great videos showing how to execute some of the steps, so look out for those.

UPDATE: I tried again with better luck!