Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sourdough Bread

Finally, the post you've been waiting for - the sourdough bread!

Can I just say, that first of all this was a true "baker's experience"... Typical me, I didn't read through all of the instructions before diving in to make this, and didn't realize until had already started at about 7pm last night that I would need to wait 8-12 hours in the fridge before baking.  

So, I got up extra early to put the bread in the oven.  Like, I got to watch the sun rise over the Capitol from my balcony early. I'll remember this for next time and make this a weekend activity beginning in the morning!

Last week, I made my sourdough starter.  It definitely started to smell pretttty sour after a couple of days, so I waited 4 days before putting it in the fridge.  When I took it out of the fridge, there was a layer of liquid floating on top of the starter, which had thickened up.  I mixed this back in before using it.

The starter was pretty simple, and the bread was as well, except for all of the time it took.  When I removed 1/2 cup of starter for the bread, I replaced it with 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup water in the starter, then left the starter out on the counter overnight before stirring and returning to the fridge.

My knife probably wasn't sharp enough to cut the slits on the top of the bread.  I also cut 4 instead of 3, mainly because I didn't think they were even enough.

The bread didn't turn out nearly as golden brown as Annie's, even though I left it in for 30 min.  I really need to get an oven thermometer to make sure my oven is accurate.

I also think it would have helped if the plastic wrap had been a little bit tighter when it was in the fridge overnight.  The edges really didn't brown much at all and I did miss the really crispy crust of a good loaf of sourdough.

The taste, though was really good!  It wasn't quite as sour as I hoped (I love the tang that really good sourdough bread has), but I am hoping that as I let my starter develop more that future loaves will get better.  It definitely was better than my wheat bread, and worth all the extra work.  I would like to try a few more recipes now that I have my starter, but this one will definitely be used again!

And it makes a great tuna melt!

Sourdough Bread
halved from Annie's Eats

Yield: 1 large round loaf

¾ cups lukewarm water (100˚ F)
2 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
½ tbsp. honey
½ cup sourdough starter
2¼-3 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
½ tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 ¼ tsp. salt
½ tbsp. bread flour mixed with ½ tbsp. yellow cornmeal

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the water, yeast, honey, and sourdough starter just until smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until slightly increased in bulk and bubbly, about 1 hour.
With the flat beater attached to the mixer and the mixer on low speed, mix in 1 ½ cups of the flour, the butter, eggs and salt.  Increase the speed to medium-low and mix until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add in 1 more cup of the flour and beat for 2 minutes.
Switch to the dough hook.  With the mixer on low speed, add the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time (mine was already pulling from the sides so I didn’t add any more at all), until a very soft dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead on low speed, adding a tablespoon of flour if the dough begins to stick, until the dough is smooth and elastic, tacky but not sticky, about 6 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap (oops, I forgot this step) and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1½-2 hours (my kitchen’s warm, it only took about an hour or hour and 15 min).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Sprinkle generously with the flour-cornmeal mixture.  Form the dough into a tight, oval loaf.  Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle the tops with flour and gently rub in.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator, 8-12 hours.
Place a baking stone on the lowest oven rack and preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  (If you don’t have a baking stone, use an overturned baking sheet, that’s what I did.)
Using a thin sharp knife, make three slash marks over the top of each loaf.  Place the baking sheet on the heated baking stone or baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F and continue to bake until the loaves are golden brown, 25-30 minutes more.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.


Karen Liffmann said...


Shumaila said...

I wanted to try baking my own sourdough bread too. Have been putting it off because of the time involved..Will hopefully give it a try one of these days! Btw I too have been in the spot where I read things half way and started making something just to realise mid way that I missed reading out on an important step!Well, thats the way you learn, right!