Friday, July 1, 2011

Recipe: Easy Sourdough Bread

I've had great success with this recipe as long as my starter is active enough to rise and I am patient enough to let the dough rise enough both times. There might be a theme there... If it doesn't rise properly the result is very thick, dense and completely inedible once cooled, I fondly refer to it as a hockey puck.

Note: This recipe makes use of an active sourdough starter!

Easy Sourdough Bread
(from Sourdough Baking, The Basics by S. John Ross)

  • 2 cups Starter (before a feeding)
  • 3 cups flour (I like to use whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

To the starter, add the sugar, salt, and oil. Mix well, then knead in the flour a half-cup at a time. Knead in enough flour to make a good, flexible bread dough. (Note: The Flour amount is approximate! Trust your hands and eyes more than the recipe, always.)

Let the dough rise in a warm place, in a bowl covered loosely with a towel. (Note: Sourdough rises more slowly than yeast bread. I like to let mine rise overnight.) Let the dough double in bulk, just like yeast-bread dough. When a finger poked into the top of the dough creates a pit that doesn't "heal" (spring back), you've got a risen dough.

Punch the dough down and knead it a little more. Make a loaf and place it on a baking sheet (lightly greased or sprinkled with cornmeal) or in a loaf pan. Slit the top if you like, and cover the loaf with a paper towel and place it in a warm place to rise again, until doubled in bulk.

Place the pan with the loaf in your oven, and then turn your oven to 350o Farenheit and bake the bread for 30-45 minutes. Do not preheat the oven. The loaf is done when the crust is brown and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped with a wooden spoon. Turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack or a towel and let it cool for an hour before slicing.

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