SMiLes by Meg

Sourdough Bread

This was quite the weekend. Yesterday, I baked sourdough bread from scratch for the first time (more on that later). More exciting, I finished knitting my first sock! One more and I’ll have a set! AND my family made an impromptu visit in to have dinner with me (but really for Father’s Day – love you Daddy-o!). This morning I ran a Spartan race. And all afternoon I got to hang out with my best friend from college (hi, Cate!).

All in all, a pretty solid weekend. But about that sourdough.

This was a long time coming. Last summer, my office mate (hi, Lucy!) made some sourdough starter. My boyfriend (hi, Erik!) found out, and wanted some for himself. All year, he’s been baking this amazing bread, but when he went away for the summer, I got the starter to babysit.

I’ve been feeding it loyally, but hadn’t yet had time to bake. This weekend was finally that time.

On Wednesday, I started feeding the starter every 12 hours. It’s like having a child that doesn’t have to eat a lot, but wants very consistent meals. I made sure I was home to provide them. As an example, the rubber band below shows where the starter is right after I feed it, and then the next shot shows 12 hours later.
That’s what you want to happen – nice and vigorous. The top looks all bubbly and alive. Anyways, to start baking, take 8 ounces (about a cup) of sourdough starter and put it in the bowl of  a stand mixer. Add the water and flour, and beat with a paddle attachment until well combined. Cover and let rest at room temperature for four hours before transferring to chill in the fridge overnight, or about 12 hours. The next morning, add more flour, sugar, and salt. Beat using the hook attachment of the stand mixer until satiny and smooth. Cover and let settle at room temperature until it smooths out and puffs up a bit, between 2 and 5 hours. Divide the dough into 2 oval loaves on parchment paper. Allow to rise, covered, another 2 to 4 hours. When about to bake, brush with lukewarm water using a pastry brush and quickly slit the dough with 3 diagonal cuts about 1/2 inch deep. Place immediately in oven. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes until the internal temperature is 190°F.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  And, 24 hours later, you’ve got sourdough bread! Slice it up and put it in a ziplock bag in the freezer if you don’t think you’ll eat it quick enough – it will keep. If you’ll eat it more quickly, storing at room temperature is fine.

Enjoy!

Sourdough Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 5 cups (21.25 ounces) flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine starter, water, and 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) flour. Mix on medium speed with paddle attachment until well blended.
  2. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 4 hours before transferring to refrigerator overnight.
  3. Using the hook attachment of a stand mixer beat in remaining 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) of flour, sugar, and salt until satiny smooth.
  4. Allow to rest covered for 2 to 5 hours until settles and puffs up slightly.
  5. Divide dough into two oval loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to rest, covered, for 2 to 4 more hours.
  6. Immediately before baking, brush each loaf with lukewarm water and cut 3 quick diagonal slices, 1/2 inch deep, in each.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes at 425°F or until internal temperature reaches 190°F.
  8. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.

 

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