I was asked, via email, for a little more about my experimenting with
sourdough in my machine. Particularly, if I'd had good results without
adding yeast. (considered "cheating" by many s`dough afficianados)
I'm no expert, some of my friends won't even touch the stuff, but
I certainly don't mind sharing my techniques - especially with
folks likely to have constructive criticism!
My correspondent suggested a starter made from simply flour and
potato water - something I may try someday. I've always avoided
starter recipies with dairy products (like the DAK recipe) but
there must be thousands of possible starters, many of which
depend on the particular microorganisms in your neighborhood.
I recommend the newsgroup red.food.sourdough for starter hints,
and in general, to anyone interested in sourdough.
My present starters came from a "Goldrush" package originally,
purchased at a cooking store on a mall.
Since I want to bake in my machine, rather than have to watch
the oven, I usually use added yeast.
The best results I've had _without_ adding yeast have required
the dough to rise for 24 hours or so. I'll put everything in
the machine through the dough cycle, and when that completes,
I put the dough in a glass bowl, with a damp towel over the top,
in the oven with the light on to warm it. The next day, I start
the machine, empty (unless I'm doing more dough). When the machine
cycles past the "punch down" just before baking starts, I add the
already-risen dough as carefully as I can.
Alternatively, I was in a hurry once, and when the dough cycle finished,
I removed the paddle and set the machine's timer for about 24 hours.
Then it went through all the mixing steps (ineffectually) and baked.
That wan't the best loaf, the bubbles were too big, but it was nice
Even using added yeast, I like to feed half of the flour to the
(already awakened) starter, with just enough water, several hours
before dropping it all into the machine.
Here's as close as I have to a recipe
(measurements are decimal to avoid online ambiguity only,
I _do_not_ measure very carefully)
I refrigerate my starter in a wide-mouth mason jar (with one tiny hole
punched in the lid), and keep it at about 0.75 to 1 cup in size.
Stir, then warm starter into activity.
(my "warmer" is the oven with the light on)
feed 0.5 cup flour and enough water to bring back to batter consistency.
(leave in warmer)
When fully active, return starter amount to `fridge.
(for me, this can be two to ten hours)
The rest now goes in (glass) mixing bowl.
Immediately add half the flour (1.25 c "Better for Bread" flour)
and some water - enough to a thin dough texture -
almost, but not, to a batter.
Cover bowl with slightly damp towel, leave in warmer.
(sometimes I turn out the light)
Wait at least until "sponge" stage - bubbles are visible in the glass
(time varies a LOT, this can be 2 to 24 hours, and
the whole thing can probably fail at this point, so
experience which I cannot relate is probably
important in preparing and watching this stage)
Throw in machine with:
1.25 cups more flour
0.75 tsp salt
1.5 to 2 tsp sugar
water - maybe 0.25 cup to start, then add by teaspoon
during the first mixing cycle to achieve an even
dough that's not too tough for the motor.
Follow subterfuge described above to get 24-hour rise time
*without* having the machine manipulate dough just before baking.
My machine is a DAK, first model. I use the 'french" setting and turn
the browing control all the way up. (those hints, and in fact the
above "recipe," evolved from a DAK recipe book)
Alternatively, at the flour/salt/sugar stage, I put yeast in the
machine (before anything else) and I use a little less than the
amount in a packet (I buy it in a small brown jar). Then I can
just set the automatic cycle and ignore it until done.
I have yet to manage really good texture without yeast.
The closest I've come took even more work, kneading the dough
slightly, somewhere in the middle of the 24 hour rise time.