In March I told you about my recent adventures in sour dough bread. I've been playing since then and wanted to update you on what I've done.
When I was visiting my daughter in Maine this spring, I learned the art of sour dough flat bread. It is even easier than making loaves, although it does take a little time to roll out the dough. With 7 of us eating it, I was making it almost every day.
I came home and made some for my husband. It was definitely a hit and we discovered that after a day or two the flat bread got a little crispy and it would work well as crackers, too. So I've been making flat bread quite often now. One new thing I added to Chase's method was to put my wire cooling racks on the oven shelves. To bake flat bread, you lay the pieces directly on the oven shelf. What happened, at least for me, was many unusually shaped pieces as the dough sagged between the bars on the shelf. The bars on the cooling racks are much closer together, so my flat bread is actually flat on one side. And an added bonus - many of them will puff up like pitas and you can stuff them.
The next variation I tried was anadama. I simply added the molasses and corn meal and egg from my regular anadama bread recipe, cutting back on the flour and water proportionally. It tasted good, but was a bit too dry, so I'll add back some of the water the next time. And apparently I forgot to take a photo of that one.
Then I tried cinnamon raisin. Yummy! The recipe I used for that had the mixing part happen in the bread machine and then you baked it in a loaf pan. I had a lot of trouble getting it out of the loaf pan, so next time I will just form it and bake it on a cookie sheet. Bad blogger that I am, I can't find the recipe on line again to share; I'd written it down on a sheet of paper without the URL.
And then there is rye. I love rye bread but I've never been able to make a very good loaf of it. Rye flour, unlike wheat flour, has no gluten. Gluten is what helps the bread rise. Even adding gluten and using lots of yeast, my previous attempts have been less than stellar. But with sourdough, I seem to have found a solution. I admit to being a coward, though. According to the recipe, if you allow the rye flour, mixed with the sour dough starter, to stand at room temperature for a while - 6 hours to overnight - you shouldn't have to add the extra yeast. I've made rye as both a loaf and flat bread and let it sit, but also added the extra yeast. It has turned out very well.
An added bonus of exploring these new sour dough recipes is finding an internal temperature which tells you that the bread is done - somewhere between 180 and 190 degrees. Getting the very center of my sour dough loaves completely cooked has been a challenge for me, as they will test done and then still be wet in the middle. But now I have learned to cover them with foil about halfway through the baking time and test for doneness with a thermometer and eliminated wet centers.
And one more variation. My regular sour dough bread recipe makes a great pizza crust.