Rising with the Sun(flower)…

…or not.

Flush with my success with sourdough waffles, I started a batch of machine-mixed sunflower bread from Classic Sourdoughs.

Flour, sourdough culture, and other ingredients in a bread machine pan

Just waiting to be kneaded.

Everything went swimmingly until the overnight rise. We live in an old, only partially-insulated house, and until the temperature rose suddenly to 70 F and then 80 in the space of a couple days, the weather has been chilly and windy and not all that nice; the kitchen being one of the uninsulated rooms, warm places for dough to rise are hard to find.

But I soldiered on anyway, putting the dough ball in its pan aside to do its thing.

A ball of bread dough, full of sunflower seeds.

It looked like this fresh from kneading and then again after its overnight rise.

When the time came I baked it as directed; when I took it out of the oven it didn’t look a whole lot different from when I put it in, just darker.

A baked loaf of bread with a big crack down the side.

The loaf seems to have exploded in the oven.

King Arthur Flour’s bread troubleshooting page has the same answer for all this bread’s issues; thick crust? big crack in the side? dense as starship fuel? Insufficient rise time. I guess the chill temperature made my somewhat half-hearted sourdough culture just not up to the job. It was fine for the waffles, which don’t need the rise, but couldn’t leaven a loaf of bread alone. I tried a slice and it was interesting, but just couldn’t be saved.

Next time I’ll try one of King Arthur Flour’s recipes with the additional help of commercial yeast; maybe once the weather warms up I’ll have better luck.

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