Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sourdough Heaven – Part 3 – Sourdough Bread

Oh yeah, here it comes, homemade sourdough bread! This was my first attempt at sourdough bread with my very first sourdough starter (see previous post for making quick sourdough starter). So exciting! This is not a whole wheat sourdough but only because I wanted to build on my success. This bread has a nice tang and toasts wonderfully. I got a nice rise – without yeast! I found yet another website on sourdough and adjusted the recipe to make just one loaf and still have some starter left over. Lots of good information and how-to on this website:

Please read up on making the "sponge" which is part of a starter that has been fed goodies and left to sit for several hours. I'm not going to go into all the details here, just the basics and the recipe I used.

To make the sponge
3/4 cup starter
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup warm water

Mix together in glass bowl, cover and let sit until it gets nice and bubbly, anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. If you're going to bake in the morning, just let the sponge sit out overnight.

To make the bread
1-1/2 cups of sponge
2-1/4 cups unbleached flour
3 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt

I like to use my KitchenAid Stand Mixer for this part. Add all of the ingredients except all the flour. I like to add the flour in 1/2 cup increments until you have the "right" amount. Mix or knead until smooth. Let the dough rise in a warm spot loosely covered until doubled in bulk. When a finger poked into the top of the dough creates a pit that doesn't spring back, it's ready.

Punch the dough down, and knead a little more. Make a round and place on a baking sheet lightly greased or sprinkled in cornmeal. Cover and let rise again, until doubled in bulk.

When doubled in bulk, place the pan in the oven, slash the top a couple of times and turn your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes. Do not preheat the oven. The loaf is done when the crust is brown and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped with a wooden spoon. Turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack and resisting cutting in to it for an hour. This baking is different from what I'm used to, but it worked for me and the bread was wonderful. It was not really crusty though. I am not complaining; this is just how this particular person suggests baking the bread. Good, but different.

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