On the weekend I was delighted to have the chance to stretch my shopping muscles and visit the local grocery store, spending some time more carefully peruse the aisles for interesting ingredients.
The result was a few small bags of flour that promised to step me out of my sourdough comfort zone and deeper into the world of local ingredients. Specifically, in part one I cracked open a small bag of whole wheat flour from Strathcona Stoneground Organics and used it mix up a batch of 20% whole wheat sourdough.
Shortly after posting part one, I also discovered that this small local flour milling business has an Instagram account where (just two days prior) the proprietor had excitedly posted about now selling her flour at the very grocery store where I’d gone grocery shopping and found it profiled on an “eat local” display.
My dough spent Saturday night in the fridge, proofed as loaves on the counter for most of Sunday, and made its way into a 450F oven late into the evening of last night. It was just enough time to let it cool on the counter, and then wait overnight before I could slice in and give it a taste.
Behold! Monday morning fresh bread and a crumb shot as I sliced up the first of the loaves for my morning breakfast toast:
Light and airy, the small addition of some freshly milled whole wheat added a very nice colour and glow to the final product. Overall these loaves each had a rich, crispy crust that cut evenly.
Sometimes I find, particularly when using 100% white flour, that the bread is light and airy but has a weak structure that collapses under the pressure of a bread knife, flattening against the board as I slice it. I imagine it has something to do with strong gluten and balanced bubbles that give a loaf a bit more heft against this pressure. I also imagine that links back strongly to the quality of the flour used.
I tried a bite of this bread plain (prior to toasting it and slathering the rest of the slice with strawberry jam!) and the wheat and the sour flavours paired nicely into a bread I could easily consider snacking on, just plain or with a bit of butter… and I probably will sneak back to the kitchen later this morning for a slice.
What’s the takeaway?
My goal was to make more effort to dabble in flour blends with my sourdough, and in particular find some local ingredients. I wrote a few weeks ago about the Gift of Bread and how sourdough is one of those near-perfect things to prepare and give to someone. I can only think that one steps a bit closer to perfection to give a loaf baked from ingredients sourced locally. And knowing that the taste and quality is made even better for the effort helps.
I’ve got a lot more sourcing of flours to do. I have a couple nearby farmer’s markets, a healthy collection of well-stocked grocery stores and small fresh markets, and who knows where else I may track down some interesting ingredients.
Now go bake some bread.