After nearly a week of fermenting the batter, I baked my first loaf of sourdough bread. The results were...interesting. I should probably mention that this was my first ever loaf of bread made without use of any sort of machine. Hand-kneaded, all that. I had almost no clue what I was doing. To some degree, the finished product reflects that.
Well, the bottom exploded. Some time during the baking process, the inside expanded faster than the outside, and it forced its way out the bottom. I attribute this to not scoring the top of the loaf, and not covering it properly when it was rising, causing it to dry out.
So the final loaf looks kinda funky. It's odd, uneven, and, well, the bottom freaking exploded. But what really matters is taste, right?
I carved off a hunk and bit into it. The sour flavor is there...but not as strong as I had hoped. What I have is really more of a cross between french bread and sourdough. As far as texture goes, it is rather pleasant. The inside is nice and soft, and the crust is thin and tasty. I sent off for a sourdough starter from Friends of Carl a few days ago, so when it arrives, I'll run a comparison. In addition, I'll make a new starter and cut out the addition of commercial yeast, in the hopes that I'll end up with more of a "true" sourdough flavor.
Overall, I'm going to call this little experiment of mine a success. As far as first attempts go, this could have turned out much worse. And hey, the loaf may be kinda funky, but it still makes a damn tasty bread bowl.