Isn't it gorgeous? Golden brown, crackled crust, beautiful lip. I've never made a bread that looked this close to the loaves I see in bakeries. Too bad its outer beauty is deceiving.
So, I mentioned the other day that I brought home some of my friend's sourdough starter. since hers has been going for awhile now. I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing, so I decided to try out this recipe. After dinner, I took out my starter and fed it. About four hours later it was bubbly, which allegedly meant that it was active and ready to use. So I whipped up the dough and set it to rise for 2 1/2 hours. It barely rose at all. I soldiered on, shaped it, let it sit for 1 1/2 hours and then put it in the fridge overnight. Again, it barely rose at all. As you can see, it got some decent oven spring. It has a great taste, but is insanely dense and doesn't have the light and airy crumb as shown on the recipe page. I don't know what I did wrong, but I suspect it has much to do with my starter not being dealt with properly.
Before I leave you with some food porn, let me ask a few questions. How do you prepare your refrigerated starter to bake bread? When do you take it out and feed it? Do you always make a sponge? How do you know it is ready to be mixed into a dough?