Ok, here's my first bread only related post. I'd like to share a couple of things I am learning about the sour dough bread making process:
First is that I have gleaned a lot of helpful info from blogs and websites but I am also learning that each baker has a personalized experience and the advice they offer can be conflicting.
Second is that sour dough seems to be a lot more forgiving than normal yeast bread (made with commercial yeast). I should add here that I am assuming anyone interested enough to read this post has a basic idea of the difference between normal yeast bread and sourdough. If not there are many good resources online you can refer to and I recommend one called sourdoughhome.com.
I also should disclose that I went against the advice of the bakers and started my bread making adventure with sourdough! They all say you should get experience with commercial yeast first, but the way I think and have lived for years is that the old ways are the best, and bread has been around way longer than commercial yeast, so I wanted to learn the old way of bread making. There is just something about the simple ways that people did things for centuries before all the technology of the past 100 years even existed! I mean I love my geeky gadgets but I don't want to get dependent on technology so that I can't function without it! Any way that's how I look at things and why I wanted to skip right to the sourdough! So as I learn things I will share what I consider useful tips I stumble upon either from others wisdom or my own trial and errors... Of course this isn't going to become a bread making blog exclusively, I will continue mostly as I have always done, but for those of you who are interested I hope I can share some helpful tips that will probably be mostly what not to do tips! Lol.
So my tip number 1 is that stretch and fold works just as well as kneading and is so much less painful on my wrist and hand joints! Also it seems to make the dough rise a little faster and higher... In fact I actually let this dough rise too long and I had to re-rise it. I had to punch it down and re stretch and re fold it. I'll let you know if it affected the quality of the bread after I bake it, and if it was for the better or worse. What I've read is that it's a bad thing for regular yeast bread bc it makes it taste like sour dough... But that just might be a moot point when you are already making sourdough. I'll let you know! The accompanying photo is the dough in its final fix it rise right before I turned on the oven to bake... It is baking right now! Fingers crossed!