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.
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.
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.