Monday, November 21, 2016

Real Sourdough Bread made with Sourdough Starter


I have finally overcome my fear of sourdough starter and making sourdough bread!  This past summer, I ordered a sourdough starter from a seller on Etsy. The starter arrived in dried form, ready to have water and flour added to begin the activation process.  Then, a broken wrist aborted my sourdough plans.  A few weeks ago I found the envelope with the starter packet and decided to see if it was still good.  I've been feeding it according to the excellent directions that I received from the seller plus finding other tips online to keep it healthy and active.  And healthy it is!

Now I was finally ready to bake sourdough bread, but what recipe to use? I viewed countless recipes online and those included with my starter.  Then, I found one that used a spin on the the no-knead format and I knew that would be a great recipe for a beginner to use.


The starter was prepped and mixed with flour and salt, covered and left on the counter overnight.  The next morning, I was amazed to find a beautiful rise had occurred in my dough - without any yeast, just the magic of the live sourdough starter doing its thing.

After tucking the dough under and giving it two letter folds with oiled hands, I plopped it into my small enameled cast iron oval dutch oven and covered it for another two hours rise. 

Using the standard no-knead instructions that you may already know, the dutch oven was heated in a hot oven, the dough placed in the heated pot, parchment and all, and later, out came this gorgeous loaf of bread...


It did get a bit too brown on top but I followed the directions exactly instead of taking a peak into the oven a littler earlier.  Lesson learned. I was so excited to see how would it look inside that crusty exterior and most importantly, how would it taste?


After the first bite into the shattering, crisp crust and soft, sourdough-infused interior I was so amazed and delighted that I wanted to yell, "Look what I have created!", just like Tom Hanks in the movie "Cast Away" when he finally made a fire.


Yesterday, I made two more loaves.  Another regular sourdough loaf and a cranberry walnut sourdough, using a portion of starter that I had been feeding with rye flour. 
 

The latter didn't rise quite as well as the regular bread flour version but it was so delicious that I will be working on perfecting this recipe - perhaps with a whole wheat flour starter rather than rye. 

Even though it's too late to get a starter going and make this bread for Thanksgiving, if you love to bake bread as I do and want to try nurturing a sourdough starter, this is a great recipe and a fun project for the winter months.

In the meanwhile, I would like to wish all of your who celebrate Thanksgiving this week a very happy and safe holiday!  Coincidentally, this is what wandered through our yard early yesterday morning! This is only the second time we've seen turkeys in our yard and both times it was right before Thanksgiving. Are they trying to tell us something? 


No Knead Sourdough Bread


I bought a sourdough starter called Black Hills Gold Rush Sourdough Starter from WorldSourdoughs on Etsy.  This is not a paid promotion, I just recommend the product based on my experience. 

1 lb bread flour (use a digital scale to weigh the flour)
2-3 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup freshly fed sourdough starter
Luke warm or room temperature water

In the morning, remove your sourdough starter from the refrigerator (where I keep mine).  Remove 1/4 cup of starter and place in a small bowl or jar. Feed it with 1/4 cup of AP flour and 1/4 cup of room temperature water.  Stir and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Keep on the kitchen counter until late afternoon.  Check to make sure it has bubbles and has increased in volume slightly (active). 

In the afternoon, weigh the flour and place in a large bowl with the salt.  Stir to combine.
Measure out 1/4 cup of starter into a 2 cup measure.  Add enough slightly warm or room temperature water to make 1-1/2 cups total liquid.  Stir together until blended. 

Pour the starter-water mixture over the flour and mix together with your hands or a large spoon, until no trace of dry flour remains.  You may need to add another tablespoon or so of water if your kitchen is dry. 
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and allow to rest and rise overnight on the kitchen counter, about 12 to 18 hours. 

The next morning, prepare the dutch oven by placing a large piece of parchment paper over the non-handle sides and then pushing down along the bottom sides and folding back over the top sides, created creases where needed.  This will be your 'lifter' and also create a non-stick surface in your pot when baking.  I use a small, 3-1/2 quart Le Creuset oval Dutch oven but any small enameled cast iron Dutch oven will work. 

In the morning, you should have a good rise, hopefully doubled in volume.  With lightly oiled hands, fold the edges of the dough into the center, all around.  Then, pick up the dough and pull it into a rough rectangle and fold one end over the other (an envelope fold) and then repeat with the opposite sides.  Tuck any rough edges under and place the dough into the prepared parchment-lined dutch oven.  Cover again and allow to rest for two more hours.

30 minutes before the 2 hours is up, place the dutch oven and its cover in the oven and preheat to 450F.  At this point, I transferred my dough in it's parchment carrier, into a rectangular plastic storage container while the oven and Dutch oven preheats. You could also use a casserole dish or bowl as a temporary home for your dough. 

When the oven has preheated for 30 minutes, very carefully remove the Dutch oven and take off the top Place dough in it's parchment carrier into the hot dutch oven. Your may slash the top of the dough with a sharp knife if you wish but it is not necessary. (I've done it with slashing and without). Put the lid back on (it's HOT), and place the dutch oven back into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, covered. 

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until dark brown on the top.  Watch carefully during the last 10 minutes making sure the crust doesn't burn. 

Remove pot from oven and carefully remove bread by lifting it out with the parchment paper.  Allow to cool completely before slicing. 

Adapted from Duonyte's No Knead Sourdough Bread

45 comments:

  1. Excellent, Susan! I love the golden crust and smooth crumb. The one with cranberry and walnuts looks esp. great!

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    1. Thank you, Angie! I was quite happy with the result too :)

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  2. Wow, this looks fantastic. Sourdough bread has always sounded quite complicated but you've made it easy. I could probably eat half that loaf, as delicious as it looks!

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    1. Thanks, Chris! I was a labor of love and so worth it :)

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  3. It's a super looking loaf, Susan. Like the cranberry nut one too...more up my alley. Is there anything better than fresh bread...especially right out of the oven, with butter. :) I made a brioche loaf this month ( to make a fresh toast post for the holidays), but that's been it. Froze the rest of the loaf, my daughter will use it for toast. Or bread pudding.

    (Is it your recipe...the cranberry bread sticks? Made them last year and practically ate them all myself!)

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    1. I can't wait to try more variations of sourdough bread, Barbara. We love it and pay a lot for a good bakery loaf here. Ha-ha, I don't think the recipe is mine but I did make a cranberry challah a few years ago. If the cranberry bread sticks are on your blog, I'll have to find them :) Thanks!

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  4. I am not expert but your bread looks delicious Susan !Have a nice week, warm hugs

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    1. I forgot .... I never made sourdough bread, I have to overcome my fear !

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    2. I was afraid too. You just have to dive it and give it a try :) Thank you, Chiara. Hugs.

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  5. I have tried making a starter no less than 5 times..lol and the results have been so poor..

    Yours looks amazing Susan!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful family♥

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    1. Well, you kept trying :) Maybe it was beginners' luck for me. Thank you, very much, Monique ♥ It will be a full house :)

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  6. It looks wonderful to me! I like a nice deep brown crust and that crumb looks like perfection. Have a blessed Thanksgiving week!

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  7. How wonderful! I've always wanted to get a starter for sour dough - thank you so much for this great post. Hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving!

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  8. Wow, these loaves look so, so perfect! I'm very impressed and I love that your first loaf is a little darker. It looks fabulous to me!

    Sues

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    1. It certainly didn't affect the flavor ;) Thanks, Sues!

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  9. There is nothing as heavenly as fresh baked bread! Your loaves look delicious! I loved the flavor of sourdough bread in San Francisco at Boudin Bakery and Tartine. You have encouraged me to try getting some starter and trying my hand at this.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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    1. Since we'll be stuck indoors for more hours during the winter, it's a great time to give it a try. Thank you, Pat, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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  10. Your loaves look wonderful Susan! One of these days, when I am home long enough. I would like to try making sour dough bread! Happy Thanksgiving to your beautiful family.

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    1. It's definitely a weekend project making sourdough bread, Debbie! Hope you get to try making some one day soon :)

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  11. Oh, the bread looks delicious, Susan! I haven't made sourdough for years and want to now after seeing this! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. I hope you try it, Pam! Everything old is new again at some point :)

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  12. Congrats on a successful first plunge.

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  13. oh I miss my sourdough! I really need to make another and yours looks so good. Love the nutty one too. I am coming to San Fran this NYE so maybe I should pick some up!

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    1. San Fransisco sourdough is the best! It would be awesome to pick up a SF starter while you're there.

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  14. Hi Susan, you make bread making sound pretty easy, good for you!!!! I have always been a little overwhelmed by the process. One of my kitchen goals next year.

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  15. this looks so good, happy thanksgiving.

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your sweet family :)

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  16. Freshly baked bread with butter and jam. Yummiest thing ever. Big sigh.
    Amalia
    xo

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  17. Look absolutely wonderful Susan !! Happy thanksgiving!

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    1. Thank you very much, Gloria! We had a great Thanksgiving :)

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  18. I'm wishing for a slice of that wonderful bread right now- it looks so good! Love the smell of fresh bread baking. :) We have lots of turkeys in our yard too, and read that they're bigger and more plentiful this year because it was the year for the 17-year cicadas to emerge. Apparently cicadas are a yummy treat for a turkey! :)

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    1. I'm hoping to bake more sourdough again this weekend :) I didn't think of the cicadas playing a role in the turkey population but it makes sense! Thank you, Betty!

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  19. I love sourdough bread, but never baked one...once...okay twice I tried to make my own sourdough, but got scared with the stuff that was growing in it, so decided to discard...end of the story...no sourdough. This no-knead recipe looks great and the bread sure turned out awesome.
    Have a wonderful week ahead Susan :)

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    1. I'm so sorry about your starter, Juliana! I keep mine in the refrigerator after it has become 'active' so it slows down the growth until ready to use. You bake such wonderful bread, I'm sure you don't miss sourdough :)

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  20. This bread is ideal and we are drooling for some right now! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving !!

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  21. I've never made sourdough bread but would love to try sometime. Yours looks delicious!

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  22. I love sourdough bread and used to keep sourdough in my fridge. I must start making some now to have for Christmas. Your bread looks absolutely mouthwatering!

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  23. I truly need this information and instruction! I LOVE sourdough bread and would love to attempt to bake it at home!

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  24. I should be ready soon..I am glad you gave the recipe!

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    1. Yay! Wishing you and your starter great success, Monique ♥

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