So my first attempt at sourdough (AKA the December Daring Bakers’ Challenge) was a bust, but I persevered! That night I started feeding Brutus the Starter again from Day 1. He developed a voracious appetite and grew so much more than in the first week!
After reading through all of the posts in the challenge reveal thread of the DB forum, I felt better knowing that others had some related problems. A few things were different this time around: I used my scale to measure everything while making the dough, and resisted the temptation to over-knead. The production leaven was definitely bigger and more bubbly, and the dough itself was more wet than last time, which is supposed to be a characteristic of sourdough. There were also a couple differences due to being in my kitchen rather than my parents': this loaf is round (different proofing vessel!) and it was a whole new oven and slightly different climate.
I also crossed my fingers while the dough was resting.
Good news: this loaf turned out much better than the first! As you can see, there aren’t any gaping holes at the top and even though the crumb is still dense, there are bubbles. It also tastes better, though still not much like sourdough. It sounds like this is normal with new starters and that they become more sour with age. Brutus is now two weeks old! Also, the bread did not smell like mac ‘n cheese while baking this time. I’m still not sure why that was, but there was one other member who had that issue.
I was planning to make the provided recipe for Welsh Rarebit/Cheese on Toast because it sounds tasty! However, having washed so many dishes, I decided to go an easier route. After toasting up a couple slices brushed with olive oil, I spread on some of the black-eyed pea hummus that I had made the same day! So, so good and totally vegan!
New Year’s toast on New Year’s Eve…
My goal is to continue feeding Brutus and keep working on improving my sourdough-making skills. Many thanks to Jessica for choosing both a challenging and practical thing for us to make and for sharing her helpful videos and tips. Again, her write up and recipes are here if you’d like to see them.