15 April 2014

Sourdough starter, bread dough and oil

I've been experimenting with sourdough a lot recently. By a lot, I mean, I've had a sourdough starter going for a few months now, and make bread every once in a while. I would say I've only had one supremely successful and amazing sourdoughs that have resulted from this lengthy experiment, but I have learned a lot about bread.

At this time, my poor sourdough starter is showing a major sign of neglect: a strong acetone, nail-polish smell. The smell dissipates after it has been fed, but always returns. Per advice on the internet, I have started an aggressive "restarting" procedure on my poor starter, which involves feeding it twice per day. This in turn results in a lot of starter "waste."

I will say that my starter does have yeast and makes bread, but the bread is not that sour, filled with lactic/acetic acid goodness. Instead, it is rather boring bread. Additionally, the crust is seriously lacking with my bread, but that could also have something to do with my baking techniques. Either way, I'm going to try to use the sourdough starter to the best of my ability while we undergo this restarting process. The first experiment is burger buns!

I had a strong desire for burgers recently, and as I am a practicing animal-products-only-as-a-seasoning-arian, I have managed to squash these desires by using veggie patties. Yes, maybe I should make my own, but I don't have time to make everything from scratch*! Besides, Seriouseats has a nice breakdown of the commercially available ones!

So, instead of buying burger buns from the store, I have embarked upon making burger buns! Except that I didn't use a recipe or even look at a recipe, but went off my own sense of what would make a good soft burger bun! I'd say that's pretty good and shows some sense of my understanding of ingredients. A thorough analysis of my made-up recipe is impossible, however, as I measured nothing.

HOWEVER, I had a sense that oil is very important for making a nice soft bun, with a soft crust. And I have subsequently located the scientific reasons behind this: oil prohibits the formation of long gluten structures (apparently this is the source of the word "shortening"), which decreases the size of the crumb and the strength of their bonds. I would assume this happens because the gluten protein aggregates don't adhere to each other as well in a high fat situation because the fat molecules insert themselves between the unfolded proteins.

Oil is also important for flavor in many situations, such as foccacia, but this also benefits from the softening effects of the oil. Speaking of foccacia, maybe I will make some for our Easter event this Saturday, as a tribute to my grandma!

*Maybe I do have time, but I am tired of doing dishes...

Vegan burger buns

*Take amounts of a grain of salt, which I actually forgot to add to this batch...
3/4 c sourdough starter
3 c all purpose flour
1/2 c vegetable oil (I used peanut)
3/4 c water (or however much it takes to hydrate the dough)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

The oil will lubricate the dough so it can be more moist, without being sticky.
Mix all ingredients together, let sit for 10-20 min to let the flour hydrate.
Knead until you are tired of kneading (5 min?).
Let sit all day while you are working (only feasible if your sourdough starter is not very active, or if your house is cooler. Alternatively, you can put the dough in the fridge.)
Separate into 3 inch balls, place on cookie sheet to rise sprinkled with cornmeal or other coarsely ground grain to prevent sticking.
Smush the balls.
For sesame seeded buns, brush with oil and pour on seeds.
Let rise for 30-60 min.
Bake at 375 for 18-23 min.

1 comment:

http://www.essay-writing-place.com/ said...

Very cool recipe! Thanks. Don't give it up. You are doing really great. Hope to see more. If you need any help, just let me know.