This is just a quick update. Over the summer, I gave up trying to bake with sourdough – the heat in this apartment without air conditioning, while tolerable for me, just made the sourdough go nuts. Nothing came out right, so I finally just fed the starter, got it going pretty well, covered it and put it in the fridge and left it there. A little liquid forms on top, and you should pour that off first when you take the starter out to get going.
I took it out earlier this week, fed it once every 24 hours (and it really could have been fed more often – it woke up quite nicely) and today mixed up pita bread with it. I’ve been doing pita bread all summer with active dry yeast because it’s delicious and relatively quick (about 3 hours from start of mixing to taking the bread out of the oven).
There was a big difference in timing with the sourdough. After about four hours, the dough finally started poofing up a bit, and only now – six hours from first mixing it up – is the dough rising fairly quickly. From here on, it will probably go just like the store-yeast dough.
Sourdough is a great way to bake, but you have to have patience.
Well, this is the best batch of pita I’ve made yet! It’s the first time they have actually puffed up to that extent. The flavor is San Francisco sourdough, too.
It’s not just that it was baked in an oven, not the electric frying pan, as I’ve baked several store-yeast versions in the oven, too. After making the dough balls and covering them, I let them sit for at least 45 minutes, not the 20 minutes suggested in the original recipe (that used store yeast). The dough was noticeably puffy then. I didn’t flatten it with force but pressed it flat in my hands, patted it and then stretched it into about a 1/4-inch thickness.