I‘ve made a lot of bread over the years, but have never made Sourdough. My friend, Brenna Reilly recently gifted me with some ancient Sourdough Starter dating back to her Mom. I had to “feed” the starter for 4 days 1/2 cup strong (or bread) flour and 1/4 cup water and then let it rest a day. I was very excited to embark on the Sourdough project!
Here’s the bread right out of the oven. I found the recipe online from Odlums Flour, which is a very popular brand here in Ireland. I converted measurements from grams to cups so forgive me if I’m a little off, but bread, unlike most baking, is not an exact science. Depending on your altitude and other weather conditions more flour or a little more or less water may be needed. I used my stand mixer to pull the dough together and it seemed quite thick so added a few more drops of water while kneading. You don’t need to use a stand mixer, but it sure did make it easier.
800 grams strong (bread) flour (6 1/2 cups)
10 grams salt (1 fat Tbsp.)
460 ml. water (2 cups)
320 grams sourdough starter (1 1/3 cups)
Add all the ingredients to a large bowl. If using your stand mixer, using the dough hook, start by mixing slowly so the flour doesn’t fly everywhere. Increase to medium speed and mix for 5-8 minutes. Using the machine also greatly reduces the need for a lot of kneading as the machine very effectively starts releasing gluten, which is the purpose of kneading so the bread rises. If doing this by hand mix with a fork until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
Spill the dough out on a floured surface and knead for about 6-8 minutes if you’ve used the mixer and 10-12 minutes if doing by hand.
Once kneaded place the dough in a bowl and let proof covered in a dry warm place for 4 hours.
There’s something very satisfying about bread dough rising. It’s almost magical and because this bread uses no yeast even more so. The leavening happens through the fermented sourdough causing the bread to rise.
4 hours later, using your fist punch down the dough and knock the bread out of the bowl. Knead for 3-5 minutes. Shape the dough. I decided to make one giant loaf using the proofing basket that I use for making artisan bread.
|I bought this boule proofing basket from a very cool
Vietnamese company, MADE TERRA.
Check them out. They do business differently.
The big round loaf is a boule, in France simply means ball. Flour the basket generously and shape the dough into a nice round ball and drop it into the basket. Press lightly so the bread will absorb the lines of the basket. You could also just free-form the dough or form it into two traditionally shaped loaves.
Once your dough is shaped, cover with a dampened tea towel and let rest another 3 hours. 7 hours seemed like a lot of resting time, but the dough was dense so I figured it needed time to expand. Before you put it in the oven, slice the dough using a very sharp knife (or preferably a razor blade). This allows the moisture to escape as it bakes. I used a razor to make some leaf shapes on mine.
Preheat oven to 230C or 445 Fahrenheit. You don’t need a pizza stone to cook the bread, but that is what I used. Heat the stone accordingly and place a tray in the bottom of the oven as you will pour about a cup of boiling water into the tray as you put the bread in to bake. The steam helps form a beautiful crust on the bread.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is nicely browned and has a hollow sound when tapped.
Here is what my crumb (interior) looked like. Very happy with my first excursion into the world of Sourdough. I’m already feeding my next batch of Starter!
And here’s the really fun part…In addition to excellent toast every morning for breakfast, I made many different things from this one, big loaf of Sourdough.
Soak the bread in beaten egg. Fill sandwiches with ham, cheese and often either turkey or chicken. I had only ham and cheese so made these Monte Cristo’s with ham and Emanthal swiss cheese.
MY FAVORITE…PANZANELLA–TUSCAN BREAD SALAD
Traditionally this Italian Bread Salad contains: bread, tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt and lots of fresh basil, but as with so many different “traditional” recipes there are huge variations. This is what I used:
3 thick slices Sourdough bread, cut into cubes
6 small very ripe tomatoes cut into quarters
1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
1 cup sliced cucumbers
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. marinated olives
1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
For the dressing:
1/2 cup good Olive Oil
1/4 cup aged Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp. Dijon mustard
Whisk all together in a small bowl. It will begin to emulsify. Check for seasoning.
|My Nanna’s colander, circa 1940. I love it!
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in warm oven for 20 minutes. Cool completely. If you don’t toast the bread the bread salad will totally consume the dressing and become a goopy mess.
Salt the tomatoes. This is an important step as the salt enhances the tomato flavor and brings out the liquid. Use 2 tsp. of Kosher salt, sprinkle over the tomatoes and have a plate underneath to collect the drippings. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Assemble all the ingredients, including any liquid from the tomatoes and stir together with the dressing.
When the bread has been thoroughly coated with the dressing, serve. Garnish with a big sprig of basil.
STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
This is a decadent, but delicious breakfast. Cut 3 thin slices of Sourdough per serving. Soak in egg batter that has been enhanced with a tsp. of brown sugar and a big sprinkling of cinnamon. Let it sit for about 20 minutes so the bread gets absorbed. In the meantime, heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat with 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add slices of nectarines and carefully brown/caramelize on each side of the fruit slice. Because of the high sugar content the nectarine burns quickly so watch them carefully. Set aside.
Mix 1 cup of cream cheese with 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
Once the bread has absorbed the egg, cook quickly in a heavy bottomed skillet with lots of butter.
Layer each slice of bread with the cream cheese mixture, nectarines and repeat. I served with some lovely local Irish breakfast sausage. I should have layered the slices so you could see the cream cheese and nectarines inside instead of stacking them all together…next time!
QUINTESSENTIAL BREAKFAST SANDWICH
No recipe necessary. I used Irish breakfast sausage sliced in half, cream cheese, aged cheddar cheese and a soft egg. Put all the ingredients inside the bread and fry gently. Yes, we are having potato chips for breakfast! Why not?!? Ham, bacon, any other cheeses would also work well. I think the key to this sandwich is the soft cooked egg inside!
I KNOW I PROMISED POTATOES FOR THIS BLOG,
BUT GOT SO EXCITED ABOUT SOURDOUGH THAT I COULDN’T RESIST.
KEEP ON COOKING, EATING, ENJOYING AND
EXPLORING IN YOUR OWN KITCHEN!
|I LOVE LIFE! I LOVE FOOD! I LOVE COOKING!