52 Weeks of Sourdough: Week 3

I didn’t get to as many bakeries as I would’ve liked to while I was in Copenhagen last week. Conferencing is often full-on and bakeries don’t stay open very late. Fortunately, Jen was more than happy to find delicious things for me to try. She even trekked to Mirabelle to buy one of their epically large loaves (half of which I brought back home in my backpack and which is now sliced for toast and in the freezer). The best bread we ate  was at 108, where we went for dinner one night. The whole meal was excellent (and the corn sorbet was just genius) but I cannot stop thinking about their bread… And the whipped butter. Sigh.

52 weeks of sourdough wk3

As you can possibly tell, my sourdough this week is not as beautiful as last week’s loaf! Upsetting but true. When my loaf baked so beautifully last week I thought Yes! I have this nailed. Obviously the universe decided to teach me a lesson and my bread this week is aesthetically disappointing (although still delicious). There are probably many reasons for this, but below are two things I learnt in the process of being disappointed:

1) Deciding to undertake a project requiring input every week means making bread even when you are ill and would rather spend the day watching Orphan Black on Netflix on a loop. But you can’t, because of the aforementioned deal/challenge with/to your self. So I got up and turned dough and lay down on my bed feeling very sorry for myself in-between. Pastry chefs will tell you that pastry can tell what mood you’re in. Can bread? I suspect it can, and does.

2) Different flours really do affect the kind of loaf you can make. I know Kim told me this last week but I’d never really experienced it as vividly as I did this week. I forgot to buy more Gilchester’s flour when I was last in Small Food, and so I had to make do with regular strong white flour. The effect on the bread was remarkable! This dough was much more vigorous than last week, but as such, also prone to collapsing when I turned it out of it’s baton to bake. It didn’t expand as much as the Gilchester’s loaf while baking either, although it proofed up significantly (more than double than last week), it didn’t seem to have the internal structure to support itself when it came out of the baton. I will be reverting to the Gilchester flour from this week again so we can see more results next week.

So the project continues. Despite my sickness, I still love the rhythm bread-making brings to my week. And the discipline I have to exercise to meet my goals. And if I ever get near to making bread like that from 108, I will be a happy bunny indeed.