Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Bye, Herman

I tossed out Herman. This is the loaf I made a few weeks ago.

Bad bread

It was very dense. It seemed the starter had become deactivated. I turned it into bread crumbs.

I tried to revive Herman by converting it from a liquid starter to a solid/dough starter. It worked. This is the loaf I got.

Good bread

The trouble is, this loaf requires more than 6 hours of rising time before it’s ready to bake. I don’t have that kind of time.

So, I made the decision to toss out Herman, and stick with much quicker recipes.


Herman recipe

So it’s been a few weeks since I introduced you to Herman.

Herman
I haven’t enjoyed the loaves as much as I had hoped, but I decided to be patient as the starter developed more flavor with each feeding. I’m glad I waited!

This week’s loaf has been delicious. Not on its own, but as a sandwich. The bread is soft and has a slight buttery taste, thanks to the tablespoon of butter in it. It’s really noticeable when the bread is warm or toasted.

The first taste was Tuesday for breakfast – an egg, tomato and onion sandwich. Here’s a couple of slices:

Sourdough slices
This bread was made from this recipe, which I found on the All Recipes website. It makes two loaves so cut everything in half for one.

If you want to try your hand at making your own Herman, here’s the recipe (altered a bit for my preference):

Herman

2 cups flour

3 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 pkg. active yeast (equal to 2 1/4 tsp.)

2 cups warm water (no hotter than 110℉)

1. Mix all ingredients and cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap.

2. Allow mixture to sit out at room temperature for 3 days, stirring at least once a day.

3. After 3rd day, the starter is ready for baking bread. Store in refrigerator.

Feeding: Feed the starter every few days (I do it every 4-5 days or so) and after taking some of it to bake bread. To feed, remove 1 cup of starter and throw it out. Replace with 1 cup flour and 1 cup water. Stir and place in frig until next feeding.

If you are taking out starter to make bread, add in volumes of flour and water equal to what you removed. For example, if you take out 1 1/2 cups of starter to make bread, then add in 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups water.

Let me know how it turns out! I’d like to know what you call your sourdough starter.


1 Comment

This is Herman

I’d like you to meet Herman.

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Herman is a sourdough starter. I got the recipe to make it from an old N.C. Extension Office cookbook from the ’80s. My mom used to make a lot of sourdough when I was growing up and I thought I’d try to make some. Turns out, her recipe and many others use instant potatoes or potato water for the starter. This one, for Herman, uses flour, water, sugar and yeast. Herman has been sitting out for 3 days at room temp. I kept it stirred everyday and, today, took out about 2 cups to make some sourdough bread. To the remaining starter I added more flour and water, stirred it and put it in the frig until I need to feed Herman again (in a few days with flour and water) or want to make more bread.

BTW, there’s a tradition of naming your sourdough starter, for some reason. A friend told me earlier today that she calls her starter “my pet” because, like a pet, she needs to keep it fed and watered. I’ve just started this process so my starter will keep the name Herman (the name of the recipe) until I come up with a different name. Kind of like when you adopt a dog that already had a name from a different family and you decide to give it a new name later.

The traditional way to make sourdough is to mix water and flour and leave it sitting out to “capture” yeast, which is naturally in the air. It could take several days, even a couple of weeks, to grow the starter before you can even use it. I’m worried about contaminating the starter with bad stuff (the starter will turn colors if the wrong things begin to grow) and wasting the tons of commercial yeast I have already, so I just used what I had on hand.

Here’s the bread I made today:

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Rolls for steak and onion sandwiches and a small loaf for soup or lunches later in the week. I think the crust may be a little too hard, but maybe it’s supposed to be that way? One source I read said this is a like a white bread, but with a thicker crust. I hope it tastes good, at least.