Onion Rye Sourdough…and toast

Onion Rye Sourdough toast

It is just too satisfying to toast up a nice sour, thick, chewy piece of sourdough bread in the morning with coffee! It is my favorite breakfast. I baked up a batch of Onion Rye Sourdough yesterday and made two large loaves using the new Danish Rye starter (which is finally available on my site at http://www.northwestsourdough.com/starter.html)

First thing this morning, I sliced off a hunk of this terrific smelling bread and toasted it to have with my morning coffee. Wow is it good!

Mmmmmm…..doesn’t that make you want to run out and buy some Rye flour? Well, I grind my own and it is great to have it fresh and whole and organic. Here is the dough as it is raising on it’s final proof:

dough proofing

I really needed the oven hot to start with and be able to turn it down more as it baked. I am going to try that next time. The crust was a bit too dark on the bottom but to turn it down would mean a longer time of heating the oven before the next loaf went in and that loaf couldn’t wait very long.

Here is the first loaf, I cut the crust all across the top (who knows why) and so it looks like a slashed survivor! I did both of them this way, just trying out something new.

first loaffirst loaf

Here is a closeup of the crust:

closeup crust

Here is loaf number two:

second loaf

Here are both loaves:

both loaves

Here is a closeup of the crumb:

crumb

This is a light Rye made with a ferment sponge of Rye flour and Whole Wheat flours and Rye flakes using the Danish Rye starter. The onion, caraway and bread flour was added the next day. This bread was baked at the request of hubby who is now in seventh heaven with a thick Onion Rye salami sandwich for his lunch today. Have a great day!

First Sourdough Bread ! Beginners lessons…

My wonderful nephew, Ray, who is 13, is staying the Summer with us.  Ray decided he wanted to learn how to bake sourdough bread as he saw me baking up a batch during the week. I took out the wonderful Australian starter and refreshed it, then Ray and I had a great day. After we mixed up the dough and it was sitting in the mixer for 1/2 and hour, he came and looked at it and said, “It is not raising.” I told him it would take about six hours and did he ever look surprised. I then expained to him how sourdough works. Here is Ray working on the shaping of the dough:

Ray and dough

shaping dough

shaping dough

three loaves

Finished loaves

Ray with favorite loaf

Here is what the cut loaf looks like:

crumb

Aussie sourdough crumb

The Australian sourdough very good, and has such a different taste than the other sourdoughs. It still amazes me that some people think all starters taste the same. It’s like saying all cheeses taste the same. Jeesh! My husband still likes Australian sourdough the best, as it is a bit milder than some of the other starters, while I like a sharp sourdough. Anyway, as you can see, Ray is very happy with his first try at baking sourdoughs!

Boudin Sourdough….sour???

In the former post, I reviewed  San Luis Sourdough and La Brea Sourdough but could not get a hold of some Boudin Sourdough to use in the review. Well…a wonderful person sent me two loaves of Boudin Sourdough to use on my blog…thankyou Robin! What  a surprise to receive a box containing two boules of Boudin Sourdough…imagine my shock! Here are pictures of the loaves:

Boudin Sourdough

Boudin Sourdough

A closeup of the crust:

Boudin Sourdough

Boudin 1

Boudin 2

The Boudin crumb:

Boudin crumb

empty bag

The Boudin Sourdough bread was very much like the San Luis Sourdough. The taste was pretty good and has a good tangy flavor(yes, it is sour) which really developed with toasting. The crust was a bit leathery and the crumb was somewhat dry and not very chewy. I guess I have to admit to being a little disappointed in what is considered by many to be the best American Sourdough. I think the La Brea was the best all around sourdough of the lot. If I had to buy sourdough…which I don’t 🙂  I would definately buy the La Brea sourdough. I will admit that if I had all three different brands freshly same day baked, there might be a different review. As you all know, sourdough is best on the first day baked after being completely cooled and the sour flavor allowed to develop to it’s fullest. I will try to obtain some sourdough baked at the bakery across the bay from me…they use the Northwest sourdough starter. I haven’t yet tasted sourdough baked by someone else using one of my starters, especially a professional bakery, it should be quite interesting!

A wedding, a trip, and sourdough fun

Well, I had a very intense week last week. On June 23 we celebrated the wedding of our eldest daughter. During the reception, my sister and I had to take our 71 year old mother to the emergency room of the hospital. She had travelled from central California which was a two day drive and had not fared well on the long trip. She has recurrent pleural effusion and was in a lot of pain. We ended up having to leave by Monday to take her home. I stayed two days in California and was able to get a hold of some La Brea Sourdough and some San Luis Sourdough while I was there. I tried to get some Boudin Sourdough from San Francisco but it was too far out of our way… too bad!!

There were nine people at my mom’s house and I gave them all a taste test of the two sourdoughs and asked them to compare. I actually had three loaves of bread. There was a loaf of Rosemary Olive bread baked by La Brea also, but we left it out of the taste test because it was a bit too stale to compete.

Here are some pictures of the San Luis Sourdough:

San Luis Sourdough

San Luis crumb

The San Luis Sourdough was a nice chewy loaf of sourdough. It was made with real sourdough culture and no commercial yeast added. The crust had a glaze and was chewy and thick. It had a great sharp sour. However the crumb was somewhat crumbly, dry with a marginal open texture.

The Ingredients are:

Bleached Flour, Water, Sourdough Starter, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour. It was a 1.5 lb loaf.

Here are the pictures of the La Brea Loaf of Country White Sourdough:

La Brea Country White Sourdough

La Brea Country Crumb

The La Brea Country Sourdough says right on it that is supposed to be mildly sour, it was. However the crust had a slight crunch and the crumb was terrific. It was chewy, soft, springy and had a great chew satisfaction.

The Ingredients are:

Unbleached Flour, Water, Sourdough Starter, Salt, Wheat Germ, Semolina. It was a 14.5 oz loaf.

Here are the pictures of the Rosemary Olive Sourdough:

La Brea Rosemary Olive Bread

La Brea Rosemary Crumb

As stated above, the bread was too stale to compete. I thought you would like to see it though.

Here are all three loaves together:

All three loaves

The Rosemary Olive Loaf is on the left, the Country White is in the middle, and the San Luis Sourdough is on the right.

Now for the results of the taste test:

Seven people liked the La Brea Country White the best. Two people liked the San Luis Sourdough best. I liked the La Brea Country White the best of the two, however, the San Luis sourdough made a better toast. The flavor of the San Luis was better to me, but I like sour bread. The all around appeal and chewy crumb of the La Brea gave it the winning edge and most people agreed it was the winner.

When I got back home, the local Safeway market had put out a line of Artisan bread that really looked great so I bought two loaves to compare them to the bread I had bought in California. I bought a Pugliese Loaf and a Renaissance Grain Bread.

Here are the pictures of the Pugliese Loaf:

Pugliese Loaf

Pugliese crumb

Here are the pictures of the Renaissance Grain Bread:

Renaissance Grain Bread

Renaissance Grain Bread

Both breads scored very high marks for crust and crumb texture. The Pugliese, as you can see in the crumb picture has a terrific open crumb. The Renaissance Grain bread has a great texture for a whole grain type of bread and the crust had a nice slight crunch to it. However, I would say that the Pugliese missed totally on the flavor. There was no development of grain flavor, no bursting out of the wheaty flavor at all. I looked on the package for the ingredients and saw it was just a commercial yeast bread. I really felt that the bread was such a disappointment after how beautiful it looked. Still it was better than most regular bakery loaves. The label “Artisan Bread” can certainly be deceiving if you think it means a sourdough.

The Renaissance Grain Bread also was missing the burst of grain flavor development that comes with the fermenting of the dough and also was just a commercial yeast bread. However it had some whole grains and seeds to at least give it an interesting flavor whereas the Pugliese had almost no flavor at all.

I certainly had an interesting week. Mom is resting comfortably at home and is getting medical care. I am hoping to get some Boudin Sourdough to put on the blog in the future, I hope you found the taste testing interesting, it was a lot of fun for me.

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