Total Time: 3 days
Review: When quarantine began, I (along with the rest of the millennials) decided it was the perfect time to do a sourdough starter – when else would I be able to carefully monitor and feed it? First things first, figure out what starter is and how to feed it. I used the NYTCooking recipe – which actually turned out great; my starter is still going and every time I feed it (giving it equal parts flour and water), it expands drastically – an indication of its vitality and vigorous health.
So once the starter came together, I was ready for sourdough. Well, turns out not that ready. Sourdough is notoriously one of the hardest breads to make – but I had some confidence (and a lot of time on my hands). So I used the King Arthur Flour recipe, figuring that I would branch out of my Bon Appetit / NYTCooking bubble. I tried this recipe twice and… it did not work. My loaves were flat, they did not rise, there was no shaping step; I don’t know what I did wrong. They tasted great, but it was more like a thick flatbread than that pillowy, holey bread you know and love. I even reached out to my #bakers Slack channel at work (yes, this is a thing) and others confirmed that they too had issues with it.
So alas, I turned back to NYTCooking, found a guide by Claire Saffitz (of Bon Appetit fame – this guide was a real coup by NYTCooking). Day 1 of the recipe went great. But on Day 2, I already got lazy and didn’t end up starting the dough until 5pm, so I ended up doing as many fold & turns as I could before bed, letting the bulk fermentation finish overnight, and woke myself up with worry at 5am to start the final shaping.
The bread turned out fine! I think the bulk fermentation was a bit long – maybe with less time the bread could’ve risen even higher, but it was so delicious and I was just so relieved that it finally worked.
So, yeah, lesson here is don’t stray from NYTCooking or Bon Appetit, ya hear?