Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Excited about Sourdough!

Went to a bread and wine tasting at The Old Mill Inn yesterday staged by Puratos. If you’ve never heard of this company before it’s because Puratos make bread ingredients and sellw them to the baking industry. Today we were to sample breads made from various sourdough starters. If you’ve ever thought sourdough was all the same, I’m about to introduce you to a world of variances and textures of sourdough bread to get excited about.

First tasting was a crusty roll made with Sapore Tosca. A typical Italian durm wheat sourdough made from fine hard semolina. This sourdough lends a nutty, slightly malted, strong wheat taste. The wine was the Niagara College Sauvignon Blanc. The lightness of the bread and wine went beautifully together. In fact all the wines were from Niagara College, it seems that the College is working with Puratos in market research of their products.

I noticed Puratos make about a dozen sourdough starters, some originate from small villages in Europe and they all produce bread with various resulting flavours just as wine yeasts all lend different flavours to wine.

Second tasting was Sapore Traviata,

a typical French sourdough with a subtle nose of rye, nuts and raisins that contribute to the milk and fine acidic flavour. The wine was the Dean’s List Pinot Noir. The cooked cherry, vanilla and toasty flavours of the wine stood up well to the hardiness of this sourdough.

Third bread was my favourite, a San Francisco sourdough produced with authentic sanfranciscensis culture. The assertive sour possesses a sharp acidity with undertones of sour cream and white button mushrooms. It was paired with a fruit forward and lush Meritage. Even though the San Francisco sourdough gave the impression of being a lightweight, it actually had a full weight of sour cream and a rich, chewy, often times sweetish texture. They paired beautifully together.

There is a method of tasting bread just as there is with wine. First you tap on it, check the colour of the bread and then the crumbs. Next is to blow on it and take a deep smell. Now break it open and stick your nose in to smell the soft, lush bread – oh yum! Now dive in with some freshly turned, whole milk butter – nothing but the best will do. Ok, that last part wasn’t encouraged, but sometimes you just can’t resist!

You can’t tell which sourdough started your neighbourhood baker uses or if they even use Puratos products, so my best advise is to get out there and try all the sourdough breads you can find and begin tasting the differences. Your favourite is out there for you to discover!