I had a request for my sourdough bread recipe and so after my post yesterday on obesity I figured this was the perfect opportunity! If there is anything I could eat until I made myself sick, it is warm, buttery bread fresh out of the oven.
Let me issue a disclaimer, though. I am not a food blogger like DaveBakes. That man has taught me a whole new level of sinful and I don’t mind saying that I lust after what his hands can do to my taste buds. Check him out.
My starter (the goo of sour smelling gunk that forms the backbone of flavor for this bread) came from the King Arthur company. Now, I don’t know if they are superior to anyone else when it comes to quality of flour and blah, blah, blah BUT since it sounds like a Medieval fairy tale, I picked them. Now, they claim that their starter is from a culture that is over two hundred years old. I don’t know if that is true but it sure as hell looks it. Blech!
Don’t be intimidated, though. Keeping starter alive is not hard at all. Feed it once a week, keep it in the fridge. It isn’t supposed to look pretty.
The recipe I use came with the starter. Here is my adulterated version here:
1 cup starter
1 1/2 cups warm water (I use hot water out of the tap because I am lazy)
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons of salt (I use bread salt “with a high mineral content that helps feed the yeast in a rising loaf” but I am not sure it makes any kind of difference in practice)
4-6 cups of flour (I use a 1:1 mix of white whole wheat and bread flour so I can feel like it is healthy)
I mix the water, yeast, sugar, and salt and let it sit until the yeast “blooms” and becomes frothy. Then mix in the starter and flour. I start with four cups of flour and knead in my giant stainless steel mixing bowl (minimizes mess) for about 10 minutes adding more flour as I go until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you have never made bread before you will worry if you got it right, so making with someone experienced the first time is often helpful.
I then hold the dough up in one hand and use the other to coat the bowl with a very thin layer of olive oil. Plop the bread back in and turn once so the bread is coated. Do NOT overdo the olive oil. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes.
By that time the dough should have risen to double in size. Punch it down and form into two loaves. Place into loaf pans, or on a parchment paper lined sheet, or the clay bowls you see pictured above. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Split the tops with a sharp knife. Bake for 30 minutes.
Technically, I have been told that you never cut a warm loaf straight out of the oven as it dries it out. Frankly, I am willing to take that risk. I will suffer through an awful, dry loaf the rest of the week if I can just have that first glorious, warm slice!
I like to use the sort of stale bits at the end of the week for French Toast.