Tuesday, June 16, 2020

How to Make Sourdough Bread

Here are some easy directions for making a delicious and gorgeous loaf of sourdough bread. Do you want to learn how to make sourdough from somebody who isn't a professional? Then you've found the right blog.

Why I Started Making Sourdough Bread

When #COVID first hit, my local store was out of a LOT of things. There were few fruits/veggies. The fresh meat section was empty. Milk was non existent. The bread aisle was decimated, and the baking aisle was COMPLETELY out of Instant Rise Yeast.

It was at this point that I realized I'd begin working on a Sourdough Starter. It took me a couple of months to try, but after a week, I had an active starter that was ready for bread.
All Four Attempts

Then the baking learning curve would begin. And as this image shows, it took FOUR attempts and two different recipes before I got something that both looked and tasted delicious.

What You'll Need To Make Sourdough Bread

  • Two bowls, large and medium for mixing
  • A large (3-4 quart) oven-safe pot or dutch oven.
  • 3 2/3 cups (518g) Unbleached Flour plus extra for kneading. I recommend a bread flour if possible. But, since my store is STILL out of it 3 months later, All Purpose will do. So far, my best result has been with King Arthur All Purpose Flour. It's got a LOT of protein which makes amazing gluten.
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt (10g)
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 4 teaspoons (356g) water, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (85g) mature sourdough starter
Ok, now that you've got all that together, let's start making some bread.

Easy Directions for Making Sourdough Bread

Mixed Sourdough1. Stir flour and salt together in medium bowl. Mix room-temperature water and active starter in large bowl until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture to water mixture and stir, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until dough comes together, then knead by hand in bowl until shaggy ball forms and no dry flour remains. It should feel dry and look something like this photo. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to 18 hours.

2.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead about 15 times, but more if necessary. When I started this, the dough was REALLY sticky and wet. Don't be afraid to add flour as necessary (I added almost 1/4 cup, 30g!) so that you can shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer the dough, seam side down onto a sheet of parchment paper about 11' by 11' that has been brushed with olive oil. Pick-up dough by lifting parchment edges and lower into heavy-bottomed Dutch Oven or an all-metal pot. Cover with plastic wrap. 
Dough ready to rise

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and place loaf or cake pan in bottom of oven. Place pot on middle rack and pour 3 cups of boiling water into pan below. Close oven door and let dough rise until doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with your floured finger, 2 to 3 hours.

Partially cooked dough
When you remove the lid
the dough looks like brains!
4. Remove pot and water pan from oven; discard plastic from pot. Lightly flour top of dough and, use a sharp knife to make a 1/2  deep cut along the top of dough. Cover pot and place on middle rack in oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake bread for 30 minutes (starting timing as soon as you turn on oven).

5. Remove lid and continue to bake 20 - 30 minutes longer until loaf is deep brown and registers 205- 210. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

6. To make sure that crust is crispy, turn off the oven and crack open the oven. As long as the bread isn't burning, leave it in for 10-20 mins to cure as the oven slowly cools down.

7) When you're done, you'll have something that looks like this!

For more information, I used this article for this recipe: https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/almost-no-knead-sourdough-bread 

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