It's funny how pre-concieved perceptions can change the way we do things. Last time I did sourdough, I had read that it would take an hour or two to raise. It took six. And then, I still had to form the loaf and let it raise again (called "proofing"). I was crazy! Six hours! What's going on here!?
Well this time, I had my own timetable worked out. I figured out how to fit six hour rise times into my sunday schedule. So, when I saw that it was raising a little ahead of schedule, I was ecstatic! It was still a very long time, but I was expecting an even longer time!
Like I said this morning, I had mixed the dough and left it to raise (the initial raise). Then, right before church, at about 12:30 in the afternoon, it had risen to double in bulk. That was a total of about 4 hours. So Brendon and I punched it down, and shaped it into a ball, which I then put into my 12" dutch oven to proof. At that point, I made some slices across the top, too.
I got back from Choir practice at about 4:30 and it had pretty much doubled again. That's the second four hours. So, it didn't take quite as long as I had anticipated, but it was still quite a long time. A lot longer than I had planned for the first time.
By the time the coals were ready, so was the bread. It's cold out, but not as cold as I'd seen in the last few weeks. Still, I figured I'd better shoot for the basic 350 degrees, and get there by adding extra coals top and bottom. So, I did 10 or so on the bottom and about 20 on top. I think in normal conditions, I'd probably go with 8 below and 16 above. It baked about 45 minutes or so.
I was really nervous about baking it. I didn't want to burn it, but I wanted it to not be doughy. I was scared about the heat. Too much? Too little? But it came out pretty well. Cooked all the way through, nice crust, great flavor. Not so much a sourdough-ish flavor though. I think that was because I "seeded" the start with a little bottled yeast. I think next time I'll work with the "open air" starter.
I also did a peach and yellow cake "dump" cobbler. Those are always easy and fun to do. Dump a can of peaches into a 10" dutch oven. Sprinkle a powdered commercial yellow cake mix on top of the peaches. Add some slices of butter on top of that. Set up coals to make about 350 degrees and bake it for about 45 minutes. The heat sets the syrup boiling, and that action and the heat convections mix the syrup, the butter, and the cake mix. It's all quite yummy. This time, I sprinkled some cinnamon on top of it all, and just a little extra sugar to mix with the butter and get maybe a little "crustier".