Friday, April 17, 2015

CRUSTY SOURDOUGH BREAD, SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE

CRUSTY SOURDOUGH BREAD
Sourdough Bread

I have to admit, I LOVE bread! It's a downfall and I can't help myself, and I love a good crusty sourdough bread. I have been making homemade breads for years and have been making dozens of different types of breads, cakes, pancakes and more out of my sourdough starter for several years. Here's my Sourdough Bread Recipe, enjoy!
  •  3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup traditional sourdough starter 
  • 1 - 1 1/4 cups warm water (approximately)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
This process takes awhile, not so much of YOUR time, but resting time.

Step 1, making the dough: 
In the morning or the night before:
If you are using a stand mixer, combine the flour, starter, butter, and 1 cups of water in the bowl. Knead the dough using the kneading attachment on the lowest speed and knead for about 3-4 minutes. The dough will look very dry. If the dough is so dry that it won't even form a small ball, then add another 1/4 cup of water and knead another minute or so. Now turn the mixer off for 5 minutes. This will allow the water to fully absorb into the flour.
After 5 minutes, turn the mixer back on and add the salt. Knead a few more minutes. The dough should be in a form of a lumpy ball. The dough should just barely stick to your fingers but be mostly dry. If it is too wet, add a tablespoon or two of flour and knead for another minute or two.

After kneading, spray or wipe the inside of a bowl with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Place the dough into the bowl, then flip it over and roll it around to coat the dough ball with the oil. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough. This prevents the dough from drying out during rise. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. I typically put it on my stove top (burners off, of course) and if you have a microwave above your stove top turn the microwave light under the microwave to provide a little warmth. Let is rest for about 4-5 hours or so.

Step 2, forming the loaf:

The dough should be expanded, filling most of the bowl, 2-3 times it's original size, and somewhat wetter then it was first made. Remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down with a single punch. Turn the dough onto a floured board and sprinkle the top of the dough as well.
Knead the dough gently, using your knuckles or the palm of your hand. The idea is to remove all of the larger air bubbles, while keeping some of the smaller air bubbles intact. Avoid using a rolling pin or flattening the dough. The whole process shouldn't take more that a few minutes. Flip the flat dough over and do the same to the back side. If it is sticking to the surface add a little more flour.

Now form the dough into a ball. To do this, lift the dough from its sides and fold it underneath to form a ball. Stretch the dough slightly across the front, while tucking it underneath. Pinch the underside of the dough ball to seal the seams.

If you have a bread baker, place the dough in the bottom and cover with the lid and place in a warm place again. If you don't have a bread baker, you can put it on a cookie sheet, and cover with a towel. Allow to rise about 3-4 more hours, until it has about doubled in size.

Step 3, baking the bread:

After the loaf has risen, using a razor blade or sharp knife, carefully (you do not want to deflate your bread) make 3 or 4 slashes about 1/4 inches deep across the top of the loaf about an inch apart. Make the same 3 or 4 slashes at right angles, forming several squares on the top of the loaf. If the loaf has dried out slightly on top, the knife may drag against the dough causing it to tear. If this happens, spray the knife with some cooking oil. To increase the steam during baking (steam will help provide the crustiness of the bread), you can spray the inside of the cover a few times with water. Place the cover over the dish and place in the center of the oven. 

Tip: If you do not have a baker, you can spray the top of the bread with water and put a pan of water on the rack below the bread in the oven to help provide steam for crustiness.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the bread in the oven and turn temperature down to 425 degrees F (ovens drop in temperature 25 degrees every time you open the oven door for just a couple of seconds); bake fore 30 minutes. Now remove the lid, reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until the loaf turns a dark, golden brown.

Move the loaf to a cooling rack and let it cool at least 30 minutes. ENJOY!

Makes 1 loaf


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