Sourdough Improvisation

Today was improvisation day, or I should say yesterday was. I made up a lower hydration batch of sourdough using a little of this and some of that. I also added some more of that malted Rye berries to the dough. I mixed, proofed, formed and set the dough to refrigerate overnight. Today this is what I got:

Malted Berry bread

Malted sourdough

more bread

improvising day

Malted sourdough Ryecloseup

This was mostly a white sourdough with some added Whole Wheat, Rye, and some malted Rye berries. The crumb came out great and the taste is superb with the nice sharp tanginess of spiked (with Rye and W.W.) sourdough and added crunch of malted Rye berries. It is nice to have an improvisation day with no measurements, no weighing and just doing what you want to!


Sourdough Bagels

I’ve been wanting to bake up some sourdough bagels so …. I did. I mixed up the dough which was a stiff dough, using Northwest starter and let it proof:

bagel dough

I made up the bagels using 4 oz of dough for each bagel:


After they were done proofing, I simmered them in water which had salt and malt syrup added to it. Then I brushed on an egg glaze and sprinkled on a topping of onion flakes, poppy seeds or nothing. Then into the oven and:




This batch made about 28 bagels, and here is a picture of the inside:


You really need sourdough to make a great bagel!

Honey Butter Cornbread….sourdough…really!

I have a special treat this time. I made up a batch of sourdough cornbread. This is what I did:

I started with my mixer and added:

  • 3 cups of sourdough starter (at 166% hydration)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (or 1/2 & 1/2)
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter which has cooled to lukewarm
  • 3 large eggs (beaten slightly before putting in mixer)
  • 1/4 cup of honey or malt syrup

I mixed these ingredients together just enough to incorporate them. Then in another bowl I mixed these ingredients together:

In a separate bowl add:

  • 2. 5 cups of freshly ground cornmeal
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Stir all of these dry ingredients together with a spoon until well mixed and then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients which are in the mixer. Turn on the mixer and stir just long enough to mix all ingredients together. Then pour out your cornbread batter into a large bundt or cake pan which has been sprayed with pan oil or greased.


The batter came up about 3/4 of the pan sides. I let the batter set for one hour to allow the cornmeal to absorb the liquid. Then I baked the bread in a preheated 400 degree oven for 50 minutes. Here is what came out of the oven:


Yea, I know the pan is crooked, but it is a heavy pan that bakes great!

sourdough cornbread

Here it is cut up:




This cornbread turned out great and was moist and crumbly. I served it with Poquito Beans which are a great complement to Honey Butter Sourdough Cornbread!

poquito beans

The Poquito Beans are native to Santa Maria California and are a hidden treasure. We get them special ordered from the coast of California in large bags. I come from that area and I make up the beans with my own special recipe which is oohed and aahhed by anyone who tries them.  They have bacon and lots of garlic in them. You have never had a terrific coastal meal until you have had Poquito Beans, fresh baked sourdough and barbequed rib steaks or barbequed fresh tuna. Life is good!

Bakery Sourdough

I was in an in-store bakery in town, and I saw a display of sourdough breads that looked wonderful. I bought a sourdough boule to take home and evaluate. Here are a couple of pictures, one of the outside and one of the inside:

Bakery Bread outside 

Bakery Bread Crumb

Like I said, the bread really looked great. However, once we tried the bread there was disappointment all around. The crust was tough and gummy like a piece of leather. The wonderful looking bubbly crust was a sham, it was a glaze brushed on that blistered. The texture of the crumb was just like a bakery white loaf and was a real disappointment. The flavor was just not there, there was no development of wheat flavor, it tasted just like vinegar. I believe this bread was just a packaged bakery loaf mix that had vinegar added. When you tried to chew the piece of bread, it turned into a gummy ball and was indigestible. I was actually in shock. I had no idea that the bakeries would go to such lengths to make a fake loaf of sourdough, when it is so easy to turn out great sourdough. Their bread was not fermented in any way. No flavor, no aroma, no bite to the crumb. Just plain disappointment. No more bakery bread for me, thankyou, but no thankyou!

Sourdough Malted Rye Loaf

I have some malted Rye berries that I thought I would put to good use 🙂

I made up a preferment using Northwest Sourdough starter and some of the Malted Rye berries along with Rye flour, Whole Wheat flour, some Caraway seeds and some dried Onion flakes.

Malted Rye preferment

I let the preferment set overnight. Next morning, I added the other ingredients, mixed, autolysed and let proof. Then I had a large doughball weighing 7 lbs 3 oz ! I made a lot because I wanted some large hefty Rye loaves of around three pounds each. Here is the dough:

Rye dough

Here are the pieces of dough divided and bench resting.

dough divided

I then shaped the loaves and put them to proofing in their bannetons. I made up two loaves weighing three pounds and the small loaf weighed 1.3 pounds. After the proofing, I baked the loaves with the smallest one being baked first. I used a roasting lid to hold in the steam from the dough and the bread came out great:

first loaf

By the time the first loaf was done, I had a problem, the other two loaves were both ready to go in at once. So I was able to fit them both in the oven at the same time, but I put the round one in my cast iron pot, which was preheated, and the other one I had to put in without covering because there was no room for the large roasting lid. Here is the outcome:

rye in a pot

Malted Rye Sourdough

Here is the other three pound loaf:

second three pounder

You can see that the loaf isn’t shiny like the first and second loaf. That was because it received spraying, but no cover to hold in the steam. I went ahead and spread butter on it to give it some shine. Here are all three loaves:

all three

The round loaf didn’t have as much volume as it should have because I missed my aim when I flipped it into the cast iron pot, and it deflated somewhat. Here is a picture of the crumb:


The malted flavor came through really nicely and the bread was proclaimed to the the very best ever by my oldest daughter. The crumb stayed nice and moist for several days due to the fact that I also added some malt syrup. I have added this recipe to the Special Recipe folder for those of you who are subscribed to it. This recipe will make 47 sourdough recipes in the Special Recipe folder to date.

Sourdough Basic White Plus …

I started a preferment with for a basic white sourdough the night before baking. Next morning it looked like this:

preferment for a basic white

Instead of just water I used part evaporated milk in the recipe. It makes a more tender crumb and gives you a darker crust. Here are some pictures of the finished loaves:

first loaf

second loaf

all loaves

large holes in crumb

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