Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sourdough Baguette

This is the first time I have made sourdough bread. Oh took me more than a week to make the seed culture from scratch. It reminded me of the days I was in the cancer research lab doing cell cultures...

Some people think that sourdough bread is just bread that has some vinegar put in the dough to make it taste sour. It is totally wrong. At least that's not the way it should be.
There are a lot of little tiny organisms or bacteria around us. When given the right condition and opportunity, they will keep growing and dividing. When you mix some flour with water and patiently wait for a few days, you are letting the bugs grow and eventually some acids and alcohol are released as byproducts. This was the natural way our ancestors made bread, when the now widely popular commerical yeast was not available.

In the beginning, I was kind of doubtful whether it would work or not... until the final product came out from the oven. It has just the right kind of sourness and tartness. Oh, one more thing to mention: the pan. This kind of baguette pan has many holes that allow heat to penetrate to the bottom of the dough as well. The result is very crisp crust, top and bottom. (Thanks to Allan and Margaret Yu for this wonderful Christmas gift from Williams Sonoma !)

I do not intent to put the recipe here because you need to have the starter culture to make this sourdough bread. I can share some starter culture with you if you email me :) (in Los Angeles area only)

I followed the instruction from master baker Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day. What a great book !

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