Mr. Gogger

That’s C’s name for our sourdough starter. I got it at a Sour Flour workshop at the San Francisco Public Library (they also do workshops at La Victoria in the Mission). As part of the workshop, everyone got some of their starter.

Mr. Gogger

I’ve been interested in sourdough for a while but have put off getting into it because it always sounded too involved, especially with two little kids in the house. But the workshop showed me that it’s really not a big deal, once your started is established you can easily store it in the fridge and only really feed it when you’re about to make dough.

I admit that it’s a long process from dough to bread. It’s a very wet dough and instead of kneading it all at once, you do a stretch-and-fold that takes hours (not hours of active work, however). Basically, mix your dough, let rest about 30 minutes, stretch it out and fold it over a few times, let rest 15-20 minutes, stretch and fold again, let rest again, etc. until it looks “ok” (as Maurice Sendak would say) (keeps its shape a bit). Then you can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to about 3 days, or let it rise some more and bake it same day.

To bake, I’ve been using the dutch oven technique: preheat oven with heavy dutch oven inside. When the oven is ready, sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of the dutch oven (to prevent the bread from sticking), slide the bread in and cover. Bake for 15-25 minutes covered to steam the bread and give it a nice crust. Then remove the lid and finish baking.

I’m not providing more details because I’m still just figuring things out myself. One problem I consistently run into is the bread being well-done on the outside, sometimes even a little burned, but still gummy on the inside. I think this is due to the oven being too hot. So I’m going to be adjusting times and temperatures. People always talk about baking as a science, referring to the precision needed, etc., but for bread baking anyway, it’s more of a science in that you’re constantly experimenting.


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