Hi there to anyone reading :), it’s been a while hasn’t it? Today is another rainy day in dear ol’ Michigan. Regardless, I’m sitting here super exited about this recipe, haha, I know I’m a true bread addict. So now that I have a sourdough starter, I’ve bern trying to create as many things as I can with it LOL. The starter grows and gets stronger as you feed it (flour + water). It’s totally my little monster hehe.
So let me tell you how this bread became my quest. One day while on my Instagram page thisafricancooks, I was looking through a search on “sourdough” because you can find all kinds of pages t0 follow if it’s interesting to you. Well nowadays I like looking at people creating sourdough bread (I know, don’t ask haha), since it’s an addiction to get a perfect loaf. I happen to stumble upon Natasa of mydailysourdoughbread on IG and found a pic of this bread that made me literally salivate. I went on her blog to find her recipe so I could make the bread the same day, but at the time after searching and searching I could not find the recipe for the life of me (grrrr). So being the instant gratification person I am, I went back on to Natasa’s IG to directly request the recipe only to find out she had yet to post it. I believe she was still testing it, much like I tend do with some of my favorite recipes that I create from scratch. I do remember her talking about using milk, starter, sugar, and flour. So there I was on a quest to make something similar.
That said, I made this recipe a few times over the last three weeks and it was an epic fail. When I started I didn’t make a leaven, I would add my sourdough starter to the flour and just mix, fold in 30 minutes times three, and place it in the fridge overnight to rise. In the morning when it came time to bake, I would pull it out of the fridge and be disappointed because it would be flat and heavy. It would never double in size like it was suppose to do. I would still bake it and the end result would taste good but would be a little too dense for my liking. After a good four attempts and making tweaks each time, it occurred to me that maybe my starter was not active enough. Back to the drawing board I referred to this sourdough recipe from www.thekitchn.com that I love. What I realized that transformed everything for me, was figuring out a way to “spark” my starter by way of a leaven (explained next), in order to get the dough to rise under room temp overnight. The whole purpose of the leaven is used to produce carbon dioxide to lift/rise dough or batter. The best way to describe the leaven I created to get the wild yeast to rise to the level I needed was simply adding flour and milk to my starter the night before.
My first recipe included adding melted butter to the dough, but I think it was better to cut out the butter as it possibly contributing to making it more dense. I read on www.reluctantgourmet.com that, “fat incorporated in bread dough will inhibit gluten formation and the resulting loaf will not rise as high as one made without fat.” Reluctant Gourmet also stated that replacing water with milk will produce a softer and sweeter end product, in case you are interested in the science behind milk over water. Another change I did was slightly sweeten the dough with honey instead of the brown sugar that I originally used. Being the I need to go to “Bread Anonymous” person I am (I admit I have a problem), I made two loafs in the last two days and both times it turned out delicious. As a trio we have been devouring it and I think I’m breaded out LOL. Needless to say, I’m so super excited to share this recipe and I hope you all enjoy it! Though there’s a some down time to let the yeast work it’s magic the end result is totally worth it. To cut out down on the downtime I have yet to make this bread without a starter. I will work it out where you can use an active dry yeast, but know that natural recipe here with natural yeast is much healthier for you than the dry yeast that’s store bought. As a quick anecdote, Michael is typically really sensitive to bread, which will cause his knees to ache really bad. However, after a eating a whole loaf to himself (he needs “Bread Anonymous” too haha) in the past 24 hours of this natural yeast versus the common fast-rising he’s had no discomfort surprisingly. So get a starter going and give it a try!
P.S. My sourdough starter I created two months ago in March ’17, can be found at Breadtopia.com. Best of all and most rewarding, since creating the starter, I’ve shared it with five of my friends/co-workers who have been maintaining their own.