Since I got some sourdough starter, I’m trying to come up with something that I can make with it each week when I have to feed it. I needed to make up a recipe for this month, so I decided to make cinnamon raisin bread from this recipe.
When I made this recipe, I really didn’t understand exactly how to feed my starter. Intellectually I knew that I needed to feed my starter equal parts water and flour by weight, but I kind of ignored this when time came to feed it, believing that everything would work out anyway. After making this recipe, I found this page which told me a lot about feeding sourdough, and this comment which gave me a rough idea of how much flour and water to give my starter. I think I sift my flour when I put it in the canister, so by adding 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour, I was underfeeding my sourdough starter by half. But I didn’t really realize or think about that at the time.
Poor, starved starter.
Part of the appeal of sourdough to me is that I shouldn’t have to use yeast, but since this was one of my first attempts at a sourdough bread, I decided to use this recipe, that called for yeast. I even bought bread flour to try to make the bread turn out better, since my sourdough bread bowls hadn’t risen much and took forever to knead.
I mixed the dough (starter, bread flour, yeast, sugar, water, bread flour, salt, and sugar) together in the stand mixer and let it do the kneading. I put the dough in a bowl to rise in a briefly-warmed oven. It may have actually doubled in bulk; I took a nap while it rose so I don’t particularly remember. I kneaded in raisins and cinnamon sugar, but honestly, these (the raisins in particular) didn’t incorporate very well into the dough. I did the best I could before I put it a greased loaf pan to rise a second time. It sat out for about 2 hours or so (Alex put it in the fridge for me when he went to bed so that it wouldn’t over-proof), and then stayed in the fridge for about 5 more hours.
I pulled it out when I woke up in the morning, and noted that the dough hadn’t risen that much. I heated the oven for a minute, and put the bread pan in the oven to let the dough come back up to room temperature (and hopefully rise some more). The dough was supposed to rise above the pan, but it only barely did. After about an hour, I removed the dough from the oven, heated the oven to 350F, and baked the bread for 30 minutes.
The bread looked beautiful, and I planned to take it to work. I had a few problems getting it out of the pan, though, and I noticed that there was some liquid (which I now know is actually alcohol, generated by the starving starter) in a few crevices in my bread. I ran a knife around the loaf, got it onto a pan, and cut into it to leave a hunk of bread for Alex, only to discover that it was still doughy in the center, particularly where the dough had been folded in on itself when I kneaded it.
I wasn’t about to feed anyone raw dough. However, I had told someone at work that I’d bring in vegan bread on Friday, and I didn’t want to let her down. I cut the top crust and edges from the bread and put them in a container to take to work, even though this meant cannibalizing the hunk of bread I’d planned to leave Alex. Alex didn’t seem to mind, though; he heated the bread up and ate around the doughy parts.
I shared the crusty bread at work, and I tried a little myself. The bread tasted good. It was really a shame that it wasn’t done. The bread itself was a little sweet, since it had sugar in the dough and cinnamon sugar kneaded into it. I think this would be a good, dependable loaf of bread if I’d had properly-fed starter. I’d try this recipe again.