Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Art of Sourdough Baking


Who does not like the aroma of freshly baked bread or cakes? The overpowering attraction has enticed me to learn some of these dishes from who so ever can teach. Sometimes the results are encouraging where as at times there are moments of despair. This is just like anything else where the success brings elation and bad results lead to sulk. I learnt to bake the " Sourdough' bread recently. 

Before I share my experience of this marvel, I  share a brief history of its origin. This kind of bread is perhaps as old as the mankind and the records go back to 3700 years before BC of its origin. It is difficult to say from where it originated as different forms of bread were made in different geographies. The common thread  is the constituents like flour, water and salt used in its preparation. What fascinates me about this bread is its texture of huges holes created due to the fermentation and the golden crust. The taste varies with the degree of fermentation. The most interesting aspect is that the interest in making this type of bread has reignited just about a decade ago. Some of the bakers have taken this art of baking to a new height by creating loaves with variants of flour other than wheat flour.

During the recent pandemic , the long confinement indoors around the world created a shortage of yeast in the market as many people started practicing bread making at home. However, this kind of bread, that requires a starter in lieu of yeast can be created at home using the traditional techniques of mixing flour and water in a proportion and feeding it every twenty four hours to create a starter. This  builds in volume to more than twice the size and  is  ready to be used for preparing the dough. I realized that time and temperature are perhaps the next most important things after the proportion to see the bread rising. .Although baking a bread is a precise art and measures must be adhered to to get good results but local variations can create  a good bread.

The most interesting aspect of the bread making unlike of other kinds of bread is it use dampness while baking the bread. Preferably in a " Dutch Oven" with cover so that the escaping steam remains trapped in the container and after initial baking, the cover is removed till the bread is fully baked.

This is one journey that I have enjoyed immensely.Those who have an interest in baking breads, a Sourdough  is worth trying. This requires patience and a lot of effort unlike the conventional bread, which too is more intensive than baking cakes and cookies

PS: All pics are mine

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