Malt Syrup in Sourdough Bread

I got a book on baking artisan bread by the Culinary Institute of America from the library several weeks ago that has a different approach to making sourdough, so I was curious to try it out and since I’d recently acquired malt syrup and had Friday off from work, it seemed like a good time to give it that try.

(On a side note, malt syrup (if you’re curious, I know I was) is similar to molasses in appearance and behavior and not that far off from it in flavor too.)

Got my starter out of the fridge and followed the instructions for feeding it, which resulted in something that resembled a dough itself, then let it sit for close to 21 hours… I needed the time to match up so that after all the raising it would be ready to bake on Sunday morning in time to be done for church but not too early either!

Saturday afternoon, I took the fed starter and, again, following the very specific instructions in the recipe, turned it into dough. First mix was the starter, water, and malt syrup. Second was flour (it said to use about 1/3 a cup of wheat flour, which I didn’t have, so I made it all ‘unbleached, all-purpose white flour’ instead), then I left it sit for 15 minutes before adding in the kosher salt.

It rose for an hour in a lightly greased bowl (I followed the directed times more than growth), then turned it out on the table and let it sit for another hour, after which I divided it in half and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Shaped it and let it rise for another hour before sticking it in the fridge overnight.

Sunday morning, I was up at 6:15 to pull it out of the fridge and turn the oven on, then I went back to bed for another hour’s sleep. Put it in the oven at 7:30 and then set about getting ready for church while it baked, making sure to pull the parchment paper from under it at 12 minutes.

Out at 8:00, it looked good, nice and brown, though the slashes didn’t really seem to much. It had a firm crust, but wasn’t overly crunchy where you’d cut your mouth on it. The aroma was lovely as well, it sure made my fiancé hungry when he arrived to take me to church (I’d had plenty of time to get ready), and was still lingering when we got home…though we soon replaced it with aroma of roasting. Cutting into it revealed larger air bubbles then I normally have, but it holds together when we eat it, so no complaints there. The flavor isn’t all that different from my other recipe.

All in all, I’m happy with the results, but it’s quite a lengthy process! Maybe there’s a way to combine the two recipes?

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