Friday, November 11, 2011

Sourdough Bread

Based on King Arthur Flour's Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread

Latest revision, on my website: 

Sourdough Bread Recipe

A work friend hinted and nudged me until I broke down and made a sourdough loaf, which I had not done in a long time. My old bit of dried starter failed to revive, so I bought a start from King Arthur Flour. It is a very nice, lively starter that made some delicious bread. I have had sourdough that is super dense, and so sour it will knock you over. This one has a nice "medium" density, is a bit chewy, and the sour sneaks up on you with a nicely assertive but not extreme kick. 

I borrowed some baking tips from Peter Reinhart. I prefer a long loaf over a traditional round shape. I never know quite how to use a round loaf. My knife wasn't sharp enough, so the slashes barely show up. On my second try, photo below, the loaves are shorter, the slashes are better, but the loaf ripped open. I may have let it rise longer. Still need a better knife. Tasted the same though. :)


For the fridge         

  • 2 oz flour
  • 2 oz water
  • ¼ c (approximate) remaining sourdough starter
*Worked for me with a starter that has not been fed for up to 1 ½ weeks.


1) Combine the starter, water, and 12 ¾ oz of the flour. Beat vigorously. For the fridge, in a separate bowl add remaining starter (about ¼ cup) with 2 oz each flour and water.
2) Cover both, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Return the “fridge” starter to the mason jar in the fridge. Refrigerate starter for the bread overnight, for about 12 hours.3) Add the remaining ingredients (8.5 oz flour), kneading to form a smooth dough.
4) Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it's relaxed, smoothed out, and risen, 2 to 5 hours.
5) Gently divide the dough in half.
6) Gently shape the dough into two long loaves, and place them on a floured couche**. The goal is to add as little flour as possible as you tuck dough inside the shape, stretching the outside layer. Pinch it together to hold the shape. Save as many bubbles as you can; they will create the large, uneven holes that are part of a sourdough loaf’s character. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours. Don't worry if the loaves spread more than they rise; they'll pick up once they hit the oven's heat. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 525°F.
7) Place a baking pan on lower rack, and boil a cup of water.
8) Gently roll both loaves, one at a time, onto a parchment sheet on a pizza paddle. Make several fairly deep horizontal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
9) Slide loaves onto baking stone, cover the oven door with a towel, and pull out the rack with the baking pan. Carefully pour boiling water onto the pan, slide it back in, take off the towel, and close the oven. After 30 sec, mist the oven walls with a spray bottle. Repeat 30 sec later, then reduce the heat to 425°F.
10) Bake until internal temp reaches 195 - 205°, and desired color is reached. The crust softens as they cool. Toasting restores the proper crunch. Buttered toasted sourdough with stew, or as a sandwich... mmmm.

**If you don't have a baker's couche, you can substitute a heavily floured, smooth (i.e. not fuzzy) cloth, or a sheet of parchment under with plastic wrap to cover.

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