Friday, December 17, 2010

Sourdough Bread

Now that I've walked you through making a sourdough starter, what's next?

The instructions in my "day-by-day" posts resulted in a starter with100 percent hydration.

To 4 ounces of that starter, I added 2 ounces of bread flour and 1 ounce of water, and let that sit, covered, at room temperature overnight.

The next day, I put that into the bowl of my stand mixer, then added:

8 ounces flour
4 ounces water

I kneaded that until it was well combined, then added:

1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

I kneaded a little more until it was just becoming elastic, then popped it into a plastic bag with a drizzle of olive oil to coat it, and stashed that in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, I took it out of the refrigerator, gave it a little massage, and left it on the counter to take the chill off, about 2 hours.

I formed it into a loaf, put it seam-side down on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, and let it rise for about 2 1/2 hours. It had just about doubled. It could have risen longer.

I baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. It had great oven spring and a nice crust. Good flavor, too.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Anonymous said...

Merry X'mas & Happy New Year Donna.
I used an all-purpose flour when I followed your sourdough-starter. Can this SD starter be mixed with Bread flour or cake flour to make different products or it can only be mixed with all purpose flour to bake thing with?

Also on this recipe, you did not mention what kind of flour to use? Did you intentionally left out to mean any kind of flour? tks.

Donna Currie said...

You can use bread flour or all purpose for making bread. Cake flour isn't going to have enough gluten, but if you wanted to make something like sourdough pancakes, it would be fine.

Once you've got a lively starter, you can use it with any sort of flour you like to make your bread. For example, I have different starters made from whole wheat and rye, but there's no reason you couldn't use a white flour starter in a rye bread recipe or a rye starter in a mostly white bread recipe.

Chris Brown said...

So I made my bread today and it didn't exactly work. It barely rose and so it was very tough and flat after I baked it. Could this mean I used my starer before it was ready? I am confused b/c I followed your directions exactly. Thoughts??

Donna Currie said...

Flat usually means that it didn't have enough gluten development during the kneading, or it could have been too wet. Or, possibly just not ready to bake with, but if it's rising up in the jar within an hour of feeding, it's ready.

Chris Brown said...

Okay, for starters, it doesn't "rise up". It bubbles nicely but doesn't really rise at all. Is this a sign it's still not ready?
I think it may have been a little too wet as well (every morning there would be an oh-so-slight layer atop the starter. So, should I leave it for a couple more days and try again?

Donna Currie said...

Ah, yes. After a feeding, the starter should visibly rise in the jar. At least a half-inch to an inch. When it's really feisty, it might actually double its volume.

If you're not getting that much action, then it's not ready. You can continue feeding on the same schedule, or, since you've got decent bubble activity and you've removed some starter, feed a little more aggressively. Either feed it multiple times a day, or feed a larger amount.

As far as wetness, I was talking about the final dough. But it sounds like the starter wasn't quite perky enough yet.

Anonymous said...

I've recently become interested in trying this and to this end have been doing some research which is how I ended up on your excellent blog. I notice that in your sourdough bread recipes you bake at 350°F rather than the much more common 400°F+. May I ask the reason behind this?

Donna Currie said...

Hi Rose -

I bake at the lower temperature because I prefer a more golden brown crust rather than the deep-brown and thicker crust you get at higher temperatures. There are some breads that I bake at higher temps, and usually I'll bake buns and smaller breads at higher temps since they cook fast enough all the way through that they don't over-brown before they're done. There's a pretty wide range of temperatures you can bake bread at. I know someone who always bakes at 475-500 degrees because that gives her the crust she's looking for.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Every day's a school day! Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for a while and have my own starter that has produced some beauful bread! I am currently making a loaf with multigrain bread flour. I am just wondering how long is "long enough" for it to be in the fridge in the plastic bag. Previous loaves, i have left for as long as 24 hours, but i was really hoping to serve it tonight, which would mean it will only have been in the fridge for 8 hours. Is this long enough? Or should I suck it up and bake it tomorrow?

Donna Currie said...

If you've only got 8 hours, it should be fine. It would develop more flavor with a longer rest, but since you're using multigrain flour, you've got that advantage.

Garvey said...

How wet should the dough be after kneading? A little wet, not wet at all? Alternately, how stiff should it be? (I make 50% hydration, Chicago-thin pizza dough much more than I make bread, but) my bread experience has been that bread dough is pretty stiff. Should sourdough likewise be stiff and not sticky at all?

Donna Currie said...

Not goopy and sticky, but I usually make my sourdough breads at about 70-75 percent hydration. So not stiff. Supple, but with enough structure so it can form a ball that stands up nice an perky instead of flowing sideways.

Garvey said...

OK, thanks. I think I'm making my sourdough breads too wet. My last two spread out too much, although they do get some oven spring and good hole structure. I might try kneading longer, too.

I'm guessing with that level of hydration, I want it to the point where it has *just* ceased to be sticky?

Anyway, "Carolina Crustie" (our culture) is yielding some delicious results. I am grateful for all of your help.

Donna Currie said...

What I look for more than stickiness is that it will stand up on its own. Instead of kneading in the traditional sense, you might want to try the stretch & fold technique. It's a good way to work with wet dough and it builds nice structure without mashing out a lot of bubbles.

Garvey said...

I gave up hand kneading when I realized the KitchenAid was easier. ;-) But for sourdough, maybe it's time to go back. Thanks!

Rachael said...

Hi bread lovers,

I’ve recently started working with Sourdoughs International and I’m learning the difference between using authentic wild yeast and commercial yeast (bakers yeast) the taste and appearance is so different it is absolutely amazing! I totally recommend that you check it out at, EnJoY!!

rachael said...

Hey! just a little tip from baker to baker, id go check out sourdoughs international for some bada** sourdough starter. i got the san francisco and OMG way good, came out great.
Happy baking!

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you! Thanks for commenting!