After feeding it for a few weeks, I finally made my bread. I followed the directions to the "T" this time, and after a few text messages, will be following Tara's instructions instead. Since the conventional method asked to make two separate loaves on a baking sheet, that is what I did. Next time, I will put all the dough into a loaf pan and bake it that way.
Here are the instructions to care for your own starter.
Straight from Breadtopia's website, the instructions to get your hands on a starter are as follows:
- Step 1. Mix 3 ½ tbs. whole wheat flour with ¼ cup unsweetened pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for 48 hours at room temperature. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. (“Unsweetened” in this case simply means no extra sugar added).
- Step 2. Add to the above 2 tbs. whole wheat flour and 2 tbs. pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for a day or two. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. You should see some activity of fermentation within 48 hours. If you don’t, you may want to toss this and start over (or go buy some!)
- Step 3. Add to the above 5 ¼ tbs. whole wheat flour and 3 tbs. purified water. Cover and set aside for 24 hours.
- Step 4. Add ½ cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 to 1/3 cup purified water. You should have a very healthy sourdough starter by now.
- 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt (I left this part out)
- 5 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (this can be any brand)
2) Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
3) Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
4) Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs (This is where I will from not on place the entire batch of dough into a single loaf pan). Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
5) Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
6) Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
7) Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
The flavor of this bread is delish! The texture is perfect and not super dense. Once I get good at making this bread, I plan to venture out and start adding extra nutrients like flax seed, whole grains, etc..