Once again, I am happy and amazed that bread – even the BEST breads – can be made not only pareve, but also completely vegan. That’s because I have declared “Vegan Vursdays” and tonight, we are hoping to have bread with soup – a classic combination that’s perfect for a day like today.
I found this recipe for Sourdough Corn Bread that looked good (though I might not go so far as to shape it into bread bowls), except it calls for starter at 100% hydration. The starter that I’ve been building up all week is more of a stiff starter (I estimated 50, but that’s probably not right, either).
At The Fresh Loaf, I found this primer explaining the math of how to convert recipes to use a stiffer or thinner starter, but it started giving me a headache.
So – always my father’s child! - I broke it down using a spreadsheet. You just plug in:
- quantity of starter called for, at what hydration
- flour and water quantities from the recipe
- how much starter you HAVE, at what hydration
And it does the math: how much extra flour or water to add (or remove) to/from the recipe to obtain hopefully similar consistency.
Here’s what it came up with!
I used my updated quantity of flour, but only about 425g total water instead of almost 500g. The original recipe says to hold back some of the water, and I’m glad I did. The corn flour / cornmeal may have had something to do with this, because it absorbs water differently.
I actually didn’t have what I’d consider corn FLOUR – what is that, anyway? But I had Bob’s Red Mill stone-ground cornmeal, which contains the bits that are usually not included in cornmeal, so I think it’s roughly equivalent, if quite a bit grittier. When it comes to cornbread, I don’t mind gritty.
Took some kneading to work in the starter completely. If I hadn’t been so discombobulated today, and had the luxury of time, I probably would have broken it up more and maybe even stirred it well into the water before I started. But I eventually got it evenly distributed into the dough:
What I ended up with is a very moist dough that should benefit from a couple of stretch and fold operations in the next hour before I actually shape it into loaf/loaves (haven’t decided yet on the final portioning/shaping).
Wish me luck!!! It’s been a terrible day in almost every other way… at the very least, I deserve good bread. Right?