Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sour Dough Bread Recipe

OK so I remember when I first started my starter I saw this recipe in The Urban Homesteader book and thought: you've got to be kidding. It's like a major life commitment to just make a few loaves of bread. I was all into the no knead revolution at that point and this just seemed silly.

Many months passed and I took this sour dough bread course at the Brooklyn Kitchen from Nathan Leamy and lo and behold here is this same epic recipe.

What I had discovered in the interim was that sour dough bread needs more attention then the no knead recipe made with commercial yeast. When I tried to make it with sour dough it never really worked. So I have taken one aspect of Jim Leahy's no knead technique, baking the bread in a covered pot, and incorporated it into this classic sour dough bread recipe.

This bread takes two days to make and is best started in the early evening. When I start it in the morning I find it over proofs because inevitably I leave it in the fridge for 20 hours or so and even though the recipe says no longer then 24 my experience suggests that 8 -10 is optimal.

Also, bread makers are very big on weighing everything. In truth I don't find it makes any difference unless you are using a very heavy whole wheat flour, but even then I find this recipe to be fool proof. If it's too dry add more water, too moist add more flour.

Here goes:

Sour Dough Bread

In a big bowl combine:

14 ounces of sour dough starter/about 1 1/3 cups, 2 pounds 2 ounces bread flour/ about 7 cups (if you want to use whole wheat or rye start by adding 8 ounces, I like a very moist whole wheat bread and often use half white half whole wheat, but it's personal so experiment and see what works best for you), 1 pound and 2 ounces cool water/about 2 1/4 cups.

Knead for about 5 minutes (I use my Kitchen Aid, starting off with the paddle and then changing to the dough hook when it starts to come together, I only dough hook knead it for a bout 2-3 minutes - you have to be careful not to over process it).

Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

Add 4 1/2 teaspoons sea salt and knead for 10 minutes by hand or about 5 with a dough hook in your Kitchen Aid.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rest for 3-4 hours, covered.

Deflate dough by dropping it, don't punch it. My experience is that it really doesn't need much deflating.

Divide in two with a dough cutter or sharp knife (don't tear it). Loosely shape, cover and let sit for 20 minutes.

Shape. I place mine in two bowls dusted with flour, but use whatever you have.

Place in Fridge for at least 8-12 hours.

Remove from fridge and let rest 3-5 hours (see I told you it takes forever!)

Preheat the oven with a pizza stone in it to 500F - when the oven has reached it's temperatiure place covered baking dish (I use a clay cazuela, but cast iron, or even pyrex works, it just needs to have a lid and be big enough for the bread).

Heat for 30 minutes (or longer depending on how well timed this is with your dough).

You know the dough is ready when you poke it and it springs back.

Slash the bread with a razor in an X shape or what ever strikes your fancy.

Remove the covered container from the oven, close the oven door quickly take the lid off place the bread in the container, place the lid back on it and place it back int he oven.

Cook for 30 minutes covered.

Remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes - until it has reached the right level of brown-ness for you and when you tap the bottom of the loaf it sounds hollow.

Time consuming - yes, but so worth it. This is the best bread ever.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Thanks for posting!

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