So, I had my starter - nicknamed Dough-ba Fett - and I fed it (read about that here). Now to actually bake something with it.
While the Secret Sourdough Sisters have been great at sharing videos, I'm a reader first. So, I pulled a book off my shelf that I have never used - Country Breads of the World: Eighty-Eight of the World's Best Recipes for Baking Bread by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake - and flipped through the recipes. I landed on Clive's Sourdough Loaf. This is very slightly adapted from the original recipe.
Ingredients makes 1 loaf
- 1/2 C sourdough starter (feed the starter twice about 12 hours apart so it's lively)
- 1 C lukewarm water
- 4 C flour + more for dusting
- 1/2 T fine sea salt
- corn meal for baking
- Also need: banneton or proofing basket or bowl lined with linen, Dutch oven
Combine starter with water, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead thoroughly for 10 minutes. Return to the bowl and let rise at room temperature until the dough is doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. [I gave it 2 hours...probably not long enough.]
Punch down the dough and form it into a ball. Place the dough ball in a floured banneton or bowl lined with linen. Cover with a kitchen towel Let rise again until it is double in size. This can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. [I gave it 5 hours...again, probably not long enough.]
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Uncover the loaf and invert it into a Dutch oven that has cornmeal spread over the bottom to prevent sticking. Slash the surface with a knife. Some bakers make intricate patterns; I made a few abstract cuts. Cover on the Dutch oven and place it in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, covered, then remove the cover and return it to the oven for an additional 20 minutes.
The bread should be golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Let cool on a wire rack. Try not to slice into it for at least an hour.
The verdict: the crumb was pretty fine. I feel as if I kneaded all the bubbles out...or something like that. The taste was perfectly sour. Jake noted that it needed more salt. I think I will actually try this again with less kneading and more rising time.
Well, that's a wrap for my first attempt at a sourdough loaf. I'm pretty happy with it. Stay tuned for more adventures with Dough-ba Fett.
You can follow the complete Adventures of Dough-ba Fett here.