020 - Sourdough #1 / Bread Pudding

Sourdough / Bread Pudding
February 26-27, 2011

My first sourdough! And quite a long story (and photo evidence) behind it. So I made a natural leaven (poolish, levain) by cultivating the natural wild yeast in Shipton Mill's strong white and wholemeal flours. This particular bread is made from my original sourdough starter (named [plain]Jane) by mixing a tablespoon of Jane with 100g each of warm water and 50/50 strong white and wholemeal flour, leaving it to sit for about 24 hours. 

500g strong white, 450g warm water, 200g leaven, and an unknown quantity of salt. Unfortunately the leaven didn't exhibit quite the yeast activity I wanted it to, so the dough was quite slow in rising. The large amount of salt was prohibitive to the fermentation process as well. I proceeded as usual with a 30 minutes autolyse, then left the dough for about 10 hours - it roughly doubled in volume during that time. 

After 2 hours, I did scoop out some of the dough to make fried dough at the suggestion of my beautiful friends Asiya and Lyazzat - After a few attempts, we produced quite a puffy and crunchy snack similar to a Kazakh version called Baursaki(?). Unfortunately we were too busy eating for me to snap any photos. 

After fermenting the dough in a loaf tin for 10 hours, it was quite bubbly with gas but remained very sticky and quite dense. The tin went into a cold oven on max temperature and was left to bake for about 1.5 hours. Unfortunately this dough did not exhibit any oven spring.

As you can see from the photographs, the resulting loaf was quite small and unattractive, but had a great bubble structure and an amazing dark crust with little air bubbles. The crust was thick and crunchy without tasting burnt, and the crumb had strong structure despite the medium sized air bubbles. 

My previous post explains why I wasn't able to eat this bread - but I thought I'd try to restore some sanity by balancing out the excess salt with some sugar, and creating my first ever pudding. After referencing a few recipes on the web, I decided to go with a mix of 300ml double cream, 150g fine caster sugar, 100g melted butter, 2 large eggs, and about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. The entire sourdough loaf was sliced into pieces and soaked in the custard mixture for two minutes and baked in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes. 

The resulting bread pudding was a very rich, caramel custard with bits of buttery bread and a crunchy and sweet top layer of sourdough. Definitely disappointed at having to use my first and somewhat successful sourdough in a pudding, but now looking forward to the next time I make a failed loaf! The bread pudding was deliciously shared with Benedict and Daan along with some soft vanilla ice cream. 


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