Denver sourdough, starter, sponge, dough, baked loaf

Starter that has been fed a few times over days in irregular increments. Its last cycle peaked in activity then fell back.

The bulk of the starter is poured off into a bowl to begin a new sponge for a new loaf of bread. A scant 1/4 cup or so reserved to be fed again for the next sponge to become the next loaf.

The machine holds most of the starter, the levain, to make a new sponge to ferment by adding enough water and flour to form a loaf.

The starter is fed again, refreshed with new water and flour, and set aside to double.

Flour and water is added to the machine to mix the new starter in, to work the wet sponge into stringy gluten molecules as much as it can. Mostly whole wheat will require extra kneading. The gluten is there, but so are the shredded pulverized powdered husks.

The difference between crumbly texture and sticky smooth texture. This is about as stringy as whole wheat sponge gets. Not very stringy. 

The new sponge set aside for the next loaf. It will rise in the bowl with its sourdough starter. It must ferment for a few days.

Black beans processed to thick black bean polenta to provide fast food for old sponge that is already fermented for a few, three, days. The sponge is fermented, started out cold from being inside the refrigerator. 

It could have been baked right in its pan. It already rose in the shape of a loaf as far as it could. It would not achieve much oven-rise because it was already stretched to its maximum.

Black bean paste applied in layers along with salt. The layering repeated. The dough continuously stretched and folded. Eventually a new loaf is formed with black bean paste and salt worked in between layers, much the same way as butter is worked between pastry layers.

During the period of a few hours that the black bean bread dough proofed in its tin, the new sponge also proofed inside its bowl. The refreshed starter proofed also inside its jar. 

The starter  is fed again to keep it going, and the new sponge in its bowl is refrigerated to slow its proof and allow a period a few days to ferment for the next loaf. 

The new dough in its pan is baked into a new loaf. 

So, three loaves of bread are represented in the next photos below, the starter in the jar for two loaves from now, the sponge in a bowl for the next loaf a few days from now after it ferments, and the new loaf ready to be baked right now.

This time of year I go straight to the pile of ugliest and most irregular tomatoes I see. WF had a big pile of them, most of them too soft.  Olive oil. Basil, what have you. I left off herbs this time. The whole time I was thinking, man, this could really use some lox and cream cheese. This type of bread seems perfect for that.

I have been living on meals like this for the past few months. Tomatoes are in season and I do not become tired of them. I look forward to my simple meals of tomato on sourdough bread. The tomatoes are different each time. The bread is different each time. The accompaniments vary each time. In a way, the meals of tomato on bread resemble cold pizza. They are satisfying, filling, and delicious. 

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