Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sourdough Bread

Most of the time when I'm making sourdough bread, I'm working with an old starter. I've got six different starters in my fridge, and when I'm ready to bake, I pull one out, feed it until it's lively and I have enough to work with, then I take out what I need. I feed the remainder and put it back in the fridge for the next time.

A new starter is different. It's not quite as enthusiastic, and it's never as complex as the next few loaves. And it's unpredictable. The crust and texture from the first dough is not necessarily what it will be like for subsequent loaves.

After a while, the sourdough settles into the sort of starter that it's going to be from that point on. The first few loaves, though. are usually a little unpredictable. The crust, texture, flavor, and speed of rise can change from one loaf to another. After a while, though, it becomes more stable. You'll know what to expect.

This was the first loaf I made from one of my newest starters:

Sourdough Bread

8 ounces starter (by volume)
4 ounces water
4 ounces bread flour

Combine these, mix, and cover until it's bubbling and rising. Figure at least an hour, possibly more.

8 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Knead (I used a stand mixer. Kneading by hand is fine, too) Add water or flour as needed to get the consistency you need. I added one more ounce of water.

Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with a little olive oil and put it back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled in size. This took about 3 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Don't mash it to death - you want to keep the bubbles that have formed. Set the dough on a prepared baking sheet a peel and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until it has doubled, then slash the dough and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes until the bread is nicely browned.

Need to know how to grow a sourdough starter? Look here.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Anonymous said...

What is the difference b/w this and your "starter-along" sourdough bread recipe? I always make the starter-along one which sits overnight 2x (once on the counter and then in the fridge). How do the results compare??

Donna Currie said...

This one doesn't ferment as long, so the flavor isn't quite as complex or as sour, depending, of course, on the flavor of the starter.

Suey said...

This recipe did not work for me at all - although, I took out the second rise to try to keep the sourdough taste to a minimum, trying to make a sourdough bread my family will eat! So anyway, even though I added a lot of extra flour, the dough was very sloppy when I put it on the tray. I just ended up with a thick, pizza-like bread which didn't cook through properly. I think my sourdough may have been wetter than yours. Also what does it mean "by volume" with the amount of sourdough to use?

Donna Currie said...

"by volume" means to measure in a measuring cup rather than by weight.

Since it's hard to tell how wet anyone's sourdough is, you really need to adjust the amount of flour you use. It should be the density of a regular bread dough.

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