Friday, December 20, 2013

Mom Got Fed - Caring for Your Sourdough Mother

I can't get Amoroso's Rolls in South Florida.

The nearest Wawa at this point is South East of Orlando.

I wish they'd open a Wawa here in Wilton Manors, but this is a small city.

I love sourdough but never managed to get the Starter or Mother to work right ... until this time.

The last rolls I made were perfect.  Very sharp sourdough tang to them.  They used a very long rise time of 23 hours, and no yeast.   This batch of hoagie rolls and the sandwich sized rolls just off frame to the left were a shorter rise of only 2 hours with some commercial yeast added to the dough.

The result is that that little piece you see in the lower left tasted only mildly like sourdough, but it was there.  The Crust was crispy but not too thick.  Kind of a "Cracker Crust" on a hoagie roll that will go well with ham, prosciutto, sharp provolone, onions, tomato, lettuce, spices, EVOO, and Balsamic Vinegar.  

Can you tell what Lunch will be?

I'm "in".  I have a functional Mother who will live in my fridge until I get a power outage and the entire contents have to be chucked.

How do I care for Mom?

Yes, I really do refer to it as Mom, but hey I'm enjoying the whole process.

After I created the Sourdough Starter, I used up 2 ounces (1/4 cup) in a recipe.  This means you have to feed Mother at least 2 ounces. 

I fed Mother
  • 2 ounces of all purpose flour, 
  • 2 ounces of warm to the touch water,
  • Stir Mother until smooth.  Air Bubbles are acceptable at this time, it makes her happy.
I then put Mother in a one quart resealable jar and placed it on the top shelf, front of the refrigerator.

What this will do is keep Mother alive but not so vigorous that you will need to feed Mother every day.

I feed Mother once a week, or when I make Sourdough bread.

I actually got about 5 days in and fed Mother another 2 ounces each of water and flour.

The trick is to always feed water and flour evenly and feed well before your intended use date so the new flour and water get incorporated into the Mother.   In my refrigerator, in my conditions, I saw a bloom of new bubbles from the sourdough bacteria and yeasts within a couple hours, and it settled down to make a fine amber liquid on top by the next day.

Day 2 usually smells more like beer than bread, but it is fine as long as it doesn't smell "vile".  Sourdough is a living thing, treat it well and you will enjoy the results.

Stir your Mother often, once a day is fine.  I do mine at breakfast while I am waiting for the water to boil for coffee.

I bake on the weekends, typically, so I will feed Mother on Wednesday or Thursday.   Prepare the dough on Friday, and allow a day to rise in the oven with the heat off but with a pan of hot water under the dough.   This will allow the dough to rise and not dry out.  If it does dry out, the crust will have a strange texture similar to crackers, but not as pleasant.

If I bake with sourdough Mother and commercial Yeasts, I allow at least 2 hours to rise and then bake at 450 for 11 minutes to get the results you see in the picture above.

The longer you allow your dough to rise, the better and more complex the flavor will be.  If bread tastes flat and lifeless, why bother wasting the calories.

I typically weigh my dough balls when I prepare rolls.  A good Sandwich roll is 80 Grams, a good Hoagie roll is 120 grams.  Yes, I use a gram scale.  It really does help to make your results come out correctly first time, every time.

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