Snowy Sourdough Saturday

How I spent the first winter storm weekend of January 2020.

Until Friday, this January has had the weirdest warm weather I’ve ever experienced in northeastern Kansas. Usually, I’m bundling up because the temperatures outside are nudging into single digits or a raging snowstorm with a wicked north wind blows through to remind us of what our Canadian neighbors endure daily. I actually looked forward to a three-day cold snap with a soft blanketing of snow. My pantry was stocked and I could wait to shovel the driveway until Sunday afternoon (which I did). I avoided the ice forgotten under the snow from Friday’s all-day rain. I stayed snug in my home with my sourdough, my movies, my books, my dog and my hubby.

Thursday the 9th it was 64 degrees, but by Friday evening, we were down in the 20s (finally).

Just like last weekend, I set out my sourdough starter to feed, but this time I did it Friday morning, not Saturday morning, because my plan was to try the much longer process necessary for the Extra Tangy Sourdough bread recipe. I thought I’d take advantage of the low pressure system to boost my wild yeast production. And I wanted to try out my new covered ceramic baker I received on Friday, thanks to a free shipping promotion last week at King Arthur Flour.

Click image to see full album Friday through Sunday

I won’t bore you this time around with all the minute details. I did peruse most of the KAF blog postings about sourdough, watched a video on how to properly fold my dough during bulk fermentation and also chatted with a friendly baker on the KAF baker’s hotline chat. I had a question about conflicting ratios for feeding sourdough starter that I had read across the blogs and recipes hosted on their site.

From start to finish, it took about 36 hours (Friday 4:30 a.m. until Saturday 4:30 p.m. roughly) to complete the entire process from feeding the sourdough to pulling the hot loaf out of the oven. I only really had to babysit the dough once I started the long rise period before shaping the dough for the final rise. That process required folding the dough about every hour for five to six hours. I spent the time between folds catching up on most of the movies I recorded in December.

Sunday I got a call from my daughter mid-afternoon while I was just about to knead by hand my sourdough pizza crust I’d just pulled off my mixer’s dough hook. I had saved the starter discard from the feeding Friday night to use either for pancakes or pizza crust. By Sunday afternoon, I could make a grocery run for some key ingredients (cheese) so I wanted to get the dough resting/rising before I left the house. Rachelle asked me first how my bread turned out. I was slightly embarrassed to report that I hadn’t cut into it yet. Once I got back from the grocery store, just before six o’clock, I rolled out my pizza crust and cut into the loaf baked in my new ceramic baker.

I snapped a couple of photos of the crumb and texted them to my daughter. She was duly impressed. And the taste was divinely tangy. The pizza crust turned out well too, but I need to invest in a pizza stone again. I prefer the texture I get from a stone rather than a metal pizza pan. We didn’t let that stop us from eating the pizza, though, which also turned out delicious.

Next weekend, I’ll try this recipe again. Practice make perfect.

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