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Excitement for a Sunday

May 4, 2008

Heidi gave me some sourdough starter a month or so ago, and I've been dutifully ignoring it ever since. I tried making sourdough bread from one recipe I found online, but the stupid thing never rose. Or maybe I just didn't have the patience to let it rise for more than 6 hours and just threw the thing away.

I found a different recipe and today decided to go for it; if this one failed like the last one, then I would toss the starter and begin from scratch.

But the consistency of the dough felt different, felt more like bread than the first attempt, so I was hopeful that I would be eating hot sourdough bread before bed.

186/365

I let it sit for two hours and it did a bit of rising, which was great. I let it sit for another two hours and it filled the bread pan. This was working! I was going to have hot bread! My starter wasn't bad! A whole world of sourdough possibilities were opening up to me!

The recipe I had found mentioned putting boiling water in the oven under the bread pan to help keep things moist, so I popped a Pyrex pan in the 450°F oven while I boiled water.

Boiling water is only about 212°F. And I dumped it into a glass pan at 450°F. You don't have to have a chemistry degree to know that that difference in temperature will make for some crazy bad things. If you can't imagine it, let me give you a better picture:

Ka-BOOM

I really liked that Pyrex pan. But the kicker? The sourdough bread was in the oven at the time of the explosion. I have to throw it away.

At least the focaccia pizzas I made for dinner came out good and yummy.

Tomato basil focaccia

Pepperoni focaccia

Veggie focaccia

8 Comments

Couple of things:

1) You need the water to "proof" the bread (basically control the humidity and temp while the bread rises the second time.) Afterwards, you don't need humidity since you want a nice crust. For semi-arty reasons as well as controlling expansion, cut a few slits across the dough top to allow it to grow.

2) 450 is a bit warm for baking bread. It'll produce an airy, puffy bread as the internal moisture converts to steam (which is nice for pizza dough which is thin enough to crisp before it catches fire), but for bread you run the risk of burning the outside before the inside heats up. 350 is just fine for what you need.

3) Sorry about the pyrex, but as you've learned, there's an extent for how much tempering will prevent that sort of thing. Glad you weren't hurt.

Here's hoping you've better luck next time.

I had never heard about using steam in an oven when baking bread, but was willing to give it a try. Even still I always slit the bread.

And the plan was to bake it at 450 for only about 10 minutes or so to help form the crust, then turn the temperature down for the remainder of the baking.

As for the Pyrex, I just wasn't thinking. My chem advisor would be ashamed of me. But it's all (hopefully) cleaned up and I'm ready to try again when I have the time to let it sit and rise. Also on the agenda: sourdough pancakes.

Too bad they don't make those pans out of quarts (but of course they don't since pyrex is cheaper) Quarts has pretty amazing lack of thermal expansion - I heated a quartz rod glowing white hot, dunked it it cold water and it didn't even crack.

Wut differents does it make if its quarts or gallins?

About 6 pintz.

Oh PLEASE send me the recipe for the bread and the pizza!!!

Miss ya

I have some sourdough starter that is 25+ years and going...has great flavor. I also have a few recipes if you are interested

i, too, sacrificed a much-loved glass bowl to the chemistry gods when i put it in the oven at the wrong temperature to keep food warm for a dinner party. so sad. but the pizza looks delicious!

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Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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