I finally made a successful loaf of sourdough bread. Back in April I attempted to make a sourdough starter from scratch. At first, the starter bubbled out of its container like a middle school science experiment gone dreadfully wrong. Once I controlled that, it decided it wasn't going to listen to me and just exploded all over my kitchen, engulfing my counter. I had no way to control it but to add some salt to try and kill the yeast. Bad decision. Turns out, I also killed the ability for the starter to get sour. I made two loaves of bread from the starter and while they had the texture of sourdough... they just weren't sour. As you could probably guess, said starter for shoved to the back of my fridge and was sorely neglected...
Jump to August and a new starter. While hanging out and cooking with Ann Dornfeld a week ago she mentioned how her dad was an avid baker and had a well loved sourdough. Lucky for me, I was able to take half of it home! Post yoga class the following day, I excitedly procured half of a very sour smelling starter. Soon after arriving home I fed it and promised to love it forever. As I would have to discard a cup of the starter the next day anyways, I decided it was time to foray into sourdough once again. This time, I would try King Arthur Flour's "Extra-Tangy Sourdough" to try and ensure I would have a sourdough. Success!!!
While I wouldn't say this was a super sour loaf, but it did have that "tang" to it. It definitely had an amazing texture and a good crust, so I have to give a shout out to Ann for giving me such an amazing starter.
But sadly, while I was cutting some bread to make croutons to put in my soup, I gave myself a pretty good cut on my thumb (don't we all?).
Adapted from: King Arthur Flour
- 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 5 cups unbleached AP flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- Combine the starter, water, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously.
- Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
- Add the remaining ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
- Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it's relaxed, smoothed out, and risen. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become REALLY puffy, as pictured; or it may just rise a bit. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Understand this: sourdough bread (especially sourdough without added yeast) is as much art as science; everyone's timetable will be different. So please allow yourself to go with the flow, and not treat this as an exact, to-the-minute process.
- Gently divide the dough in half.
- Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. 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 425°F.
- Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
- Make two fairly deep horizontal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it form the oven, and cool on a rack.