All righty--the first loaf of sourdough I made was flat, kind of burned, but had the correct "sourdough" taste. (Nope, don't have a pic of it--you'll have to take my word)
I had used the recipe from Electric Bread. Does anyone remember this? It was published in the mid 90's along with the bread machine craze. As I am still a strong proponent of bread machines--I still use this as my go-to cookbook for bread. It's really a fantastic book and has very rarely steered me wrong.
It steered me wrong with the sourdough. Of course--it's not the book's fault, entirely. The book wanted me to cook it in the bread machine, and I wanted to cook in the oven. I won. Bread was burned.
So, this time I pulled out my trusty Joy of Cooking. This book has enlightened me multiple times. If I decide to pull an "Into the Wild" and kill and eat my own food-Joy would be the book I bring with me. (she has whole sections on cooking game and pretty much any plant!)
And she, again, steered me in the right direction. At first, the whole "have dough rise overnight in warm place" worried me--because I opened my oven at 6 am to be greeted with this:
But it turned out fine. I reshaped it, gave a quick egg wash, and into the oven with you! I decided, personally, to keep the heat at 400 but pull the bread around 22 minutes--that worked well.
Here's my success!!
Oh no--crazy sourdough mutation!
That's okay, I love you anyway.
Verdict? Good flavor, crusty exterior, not burned. Things I'll try next time--I'd like to increase the sweetener (I used plain sugar) and the salt, I'd like to let it rise for a while after reshaping, and I'd like to remember to buy butter!!