I used the basic sourdough white bread recipe from the La Brea cookbook. The recipe is eight pages long so I was a
|This was at the start of day two. It got even better; frothy, like the top of a rootbeer float.|
I mixed up the flour, water, and starter and then dumped the clumpy, gooky mass onto the work area. I started kneading it and pretty soon it came together and transformed into a wonderful elastic dough. After letting it rest 20 minutes, I sprinkled on the salt and resumed kneading.
Brett came into the house and asked what I was doing, making such a racket. At that point, I had been kneading for half an hour. My heart rate was up, I was sweating and the dough still wasn't at 78F. It crept up from 72 where I started to 75 but it wouldn't budge beyond that. Brett took some short video of my fighting the dough. At this point, I had scraped my knuckle raw (can you see the blood streaks on the table in the picture above?) and I was frustrated -- and tired.
Finally, after 45 minutes of beating that dough to a pulp -- from satiny, to beaking down, to satiny, to breaking down -- I quit. I looked at the instructions and it said that the kneading should only take five minutes or so. I was supposed to stop at the first satiny part but I didn't trust myself and kept going; focused on the dough temperature. I was SURE I had wreacked the dough by over-kneading it. I put it in the proofing container, snapped on the lid, and left it to rise for four hours, while I sulked.
It rose, but it didn't double like it was supposed to. Crap. I dumped it out, formed it into boules and put the rounds of dough in cloth lined baskets for their second rise in the refrigerator.
The next morning, I pulled them out. They had hardly budged. I put them on the counter to finish their rise (rustic bread rises slowly which develops its wonderful flavor). They didn't ever reach the top of their forms, but they did rise a bit and get ever so slightly puffy. I felt a glimmer of hope.
I agressively slashed the top of the loaves to encourage a big spring in the oven, pumped my spray bottle full of water into the oven, and popped them in onto a baking stone.