Starting Simple with Breadmaking

I’ve dabbled in breadmaking in the past but not with any real attempt to improve on my ability. Well, this is going to change. After going to all the trouble of making a sourdough starter from scratch, it makes sense for me to at least try to learn the ins and outs and frustrations of dough as well as learn to make decent bread. So yes, this post is once again about sourdough!

I tried making crumpets with my sourdough starter. They turned out okay but I wasn’t very happy with them. They should have “poofed” more I thought. They also had an interesting grayish-brown color to their edges. Not very attractive. So that is definitely something I have to try again. My starter was still “young” though so that may have been part of the problem.

Last week, I tried making sourdough pizza dough with my starter. Once again, I was not very happy with how it turned out. I wanted a thick, chewy crust, but ended up with a thin, crispy crust, the complete opposite. So that is another thing I will have to try again. I think it is possible my yeast was getting old and I did not knead the dough long enough.

Today, I used the discard from feeding my starter to make a loaf of sourdough bread in my bread machine. It actually turned out decent. I’m still looking for the chewy texture though. I used a new package of yeast to make this loaf so hopefully, that will help with some of the problems I have been having.

This loaf actually looks decent. The sourdough "tang" is very subtle still though. I think I might need to age my starter before I get that "tang."
This loaf actually looks decent. The sourdough “tang” is still very subtle though. I think I might need to age my starter before I get that “tang.”
I used a basic sourdough recipe at allrecipes.com. I did have to add about a 1/4 cup of water ten minutes into the bread machine cycle because the dough looked very dry. This recipe uses commercial yeast as well. I am not brave enough yet to try and bake sourdough without adding that in.

The bread's crumb. I was hoping for a little bit of a different texture but the bread still tastes good, especially with home-whipped butter!
The bread’s crumb. I was hoping for a little bit of a different texture but the bread still tastes good, especially with home-whipped butter!
On Friday, I might try to make a sourdough loaf by conventional methods. I want to see if there is a difference in texture and also if the loaf even comes out right. At least I know I will get a good arm workout that day!

I am approaching breadmaking as a puzzle for me to solve. I once spent three days solving this thing…

A disentanglement puzzle. I think it's called the double bypass. I really annoyed Josh with the constant "tink, tink" from messing with it.
A disentanglement puzzle. I think it’s called the double bypass. I really annoyed Josh with the constant “tink, tink” from messing with it. He still wasn’t quite as happy as I was when I did solve it.
Breadmaking is definitely more difficult for me! So I will be spending a lot longer than three days trying to figure it out.

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