Finally I’m going to tell you about how I used the Sourdough Starter I started over a month ago!
First off, I have to be honest that I didn’t really think the whole thing would work because it just seemed to me that so many things can go wrong: didn’t use the right amount of flour or water, temperature not optimal, contamination by other yucky organisms, etc etc. I literally thought of every possible thing that could have gone wrong, just to prepare myself to not get disappointed when it failed. But the sourdough gods must have been smiling on me because not only did I manage to get a decent starter going, but the bread that I eventually made with the starter turned out quite good!
Bread-making is obviously not for people who are impatient, as it requires long stretches of waiting. At the same time, it is also one of the least labor-intensive type of cooking one can do, especially if one owns a stand mixer. You literally mix up the dough, knead it for a while, leave it alone while you go do something else, quickly shape the loaves, leave it alone again, and bake.
This time around, I tried out a schedule that ended up working quite well. I mixed the dough on a late Saturday afternoon and then left it to rise overnight in my cool kitchen. By the time I woke up on Sunday morning (left panel), it had risen about 2 to 3 times its initial volume (marked by the pink tape) and was ready to be shaped into loaves. It took all of 15 minutes to shape the dough into two batards (middle panel), after which I went out and ran some errands for a few hours. By the time I came back, the loaves had puffed (right panel) and were ready to be baked.
The final result had plenty of big holes – my simplistic metric for “good” bread – and a pretty authentic, tangy flavor. Nathan devoured half a loaf within the span of 30 minutes, so I’d venture to say the bread was a success! ;)