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Since I first started experimenting with sourdough breadĀ back in January, I’ve taken all of your comments and suggestions to heart and can safely say I’m making great progress. I’ve gotten past the dreadedĀ “dense loaves” issue, and my family is eating the bread. That means I no longer have to subject my birds and squirrels to it, for which they are truly grateful because they like to fly and scamper about.

I’ve even started making loaves with green olives and Asiago cheese. My family loves that so much that it’s all I’ve been making. Next batch, I’m going to make a cinnamon-raisin loaf, though, and maybe a coconut loaf like the one we bought down in the Virgin Islands 35 years ago, straight out of a kindhearted elder baker’s brick oven on the side of a mountain on Tortola.

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Sourdough Bread – We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bowl

So things are going along pretty well with my Sourdough Adventures. But that’s not to say there haven’t been ups and downs. That photo at the top of this post is the result of yesterday’s batch. Looks pretty good, yeah? But just a few hours earlier, it looked like this:

Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Bread Rise Fail, aka We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bowl | Jane Boursaw Photo

Yes, that dough is literally giving me the you-know-what because I tried using a smaller bowl due to the fact that my bigger bowl is hard to clean. No worries, though. I put that disrespectful dough back in its place and carried on. Here’s the result, fresh from the oven:

Sourdough, Fresh From Oven
Sourdough Bread with Green Olives and Asiago Cheese, Fresh From the Oven | Jane Boursaw Photo

And just a batch or two ago, I encountered another issue. I cannot for the life of me figure out why I’m not able to shape a dough into those lovely Stonehouse rustic loaves you buy at Oryana Food Co-op and other fine groceries around town.

The below photo is what happened. It’s flat as a pancake. Someone tell me the secret to those shaped loaves. More flour, perhaps? This particular dough got re-kneaded and stuffed into a loaf pan, where it turned out fine.

Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Bread Rise Fail, aka Some Like It Flat | Jane Boursaw Photo

Here are a couple more photos from yesterday’s fine batch. The dough separated and ready to shape into loaves:

Sourdough, Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Bread, ready to shape into loaves | Jane Boursaw Photo

And here are the chopped-up green olives and Asiago cheese, ready to knead into the dough (I patted any extra moisture out of the olives before kneading into the dough):

Green Olives, Asiago Cheese
Green Olives and Asiago Cheese, ready to mix into the sourdough bread | Jane Boursaw Photo

And one more of yesterday’s lovely finished loaves. This is the first time I’ve added Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (“Loved by chefs the world over!”) to the top, and we all really like it. Found that at Oryana in the baking aisle.

Sourdough Bread, Sourdough
Sourdough Bread with Green Olives and Asiago Cheese | Jane Boursaw Photo

I look forward to hearing your suggestions and ideas for how to get those shaped loaves without a pan. Leave thoughts below!

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

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