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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Smells like Christmas



I'm always looking for ways to use up my sourdough starter because inevitably I make to much. A lot of bread recipes call for only 1/4 cup of starter at most and I still have lots left. I've made English muffins with the left over but still only about a cup. When I see that bowl of happy, bubbling, starter perfectly lacy and elastic that I've been feeding and nurturing for the past few days I just don't have the heart to chuck in the bin. Plus, it's kind of wasteful, really. So, I thought of making Christmas Sourdough Stollen. I know, weird. But if you can make sourdough cinnamon rolls why not stollen?



I used a little calculation and a bit of guess work to come up with the right proportions of flour, starter and liquid. My first attempt produced WAY too wet of a dough. Even with the French technique of mixing dough it still was too sticky so I ended up adding about a 3/4 cup of extra flour. It just never really felt right but was nice and elastic but still, very sticky.

I combined a couple of different recipes, one of which uses a frangipane filling. It was difficult to work with this dough being so wet but somehow I managed to form uniform loaves. Unfortunately, during baking the bread came apart at the seam as you can see in the photo. I'm not sure if this is because there was too much filling or what but I had to try and press the dough together but to no avail. It had already formed a slight crust and subsequently left me with huge fissures and filling seeping out of the ends. And it didn't rise as much as I would have liked but over all the flavor is really delicious and gets better as it ages. Well, back to the drawing board. I will endeavor to make it the best!