Fresh San Franciscan Sourdough at Home
After several unsuccessful attempts at making my own sourdough starter, I decided upon the recommendation of Cooks Illustrated to use the Goldrush Sourdough Starter pack. During our trip to the SF Bay Area last Christmas, I bought two packs, in case one failed to react as hoped. After enduring several days of pungent, yeasty, soury smells in the air of our little basement apartment (good thing our neighbours didn't complain!), and 3 tolerably successful batches, I baked my first wonderfully looking, smelling, and tasting sourdough bread loaves! Loy and I love olives and herbs in our bread and so I added a generous amount of each into the dough, which, to my relief, proofed without problem. And, by the way, the best olive baguette we've tasted is sold at The Phoenix Pastificio, a restaurant and bakery at Berkeley. Below, Loy and Baby Penny pose with their friendly baker Eric during our last trip back.
Great bread tips I picked up:
1. In cold temperature areas (such as Canada in winter), place starter and dough in the oven with only the light on.
2. Watch your dough as it proofs (rises). As soon as it doubles in size and a dent remains where your finger has pressed, it's ready for baking. Slash with razor or tip of knife the surface of the dough to ensure that bread bakes evenly. Overproofing will cause the dough to deflate when slashed.
3. Covering your dough with aluminium foil (with space for dough to rise a little) will prevent the top from getting burnt. Remove the foil when bread is almost done to achieve a nice light brown.