Monthly Archives: October 2013

Simple Scrumptious Sourdough

2013-10-06 18.58.36

For those of you paying attention, I have been in pursuit of the perfect sourdough bread recipe. A weekend stuck inside due to an early huge snowstorm had my mind back on sourdough. My sourdough starter was to the point it needed to be reduced so rather than toss it, I decided to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new sourdough recipe.

The sourdough recipe I have is really tasty. It has the perfect tang, but it takes ALL DAY from the drop of the first ingredient until the loaves are out of the oven. It relies exclusively on the sourdough starter to raise the dough and that takes a long time. My Mom’s bread recipe is the absolute best homemade white bread ever. It’s soft, it rises to heights previously unknown to homemade bread, and it is delicious. The task became, how do I hybrid these two recipes into a fast, delicious sourdough bread recipe.

I’m sure you’ve guessed, since this posts exists, I accomplished this feat. The bread is so tasty, crustier than Mom’s bread (as sourdough should be), and softer, lighter than the sourdough recipe and the most important? It’s a tall, beautiful loaf.

I made my loaves in glass loaf pans, so at this point I’m not sure how free form traditional style loaves will turn out. I’m thinking they should be just fine. I also didn’t score my loaves, but this can be done as well to create your own unique loaves either in pans or free form.

Now, I’m going to get on my soapbox. To achieve a good rise and quality dough and bread, always use good quality flour. In my opinion store brand and Gold Medal flours are subpar. Mad Scientist uses Dakota Mills, Wheat Montana or King Arthur flour.

Simply Scrumptious Sourdough

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup of sourdough starter
  • 1 Lightly beaten egg
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Cup very warm water
  • 1-1/2 Cups AP flour
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten
  • 2 Tablespoons yeast
    • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 5/8 teaspoon sour salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3-4 cups AP flour

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the first SEVEN ingredients (starter through yeast) into your mixer bowl, and mix using paddle attachment just until the ingredients come together. It should be a shaggy mixture. Let this starter dough rest for 30 minutes or until the mixture rises approximately double.

After the starter dough has raised, in a small bowl stir together the next FOUR ingredients (salt through vinegar) and add immediately to the starter dough and start your mixer on low-medium speed.

Add flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time and switch to the dough hook when the dough becomes extra thick and sticky. Continue to slowly add flour until dough is slightly sticky. Knead using your mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Then turn onto a floured surface and knead by hand for another 2 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375° and place a baking pan with 1/2” of water added on the bottom rack.

Move dough to a clean, oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to rise 30 minutes, or until doubled. Punch down, cover and rise another 30 minutes, or until doubled.

Divide the dough into two loaves and place into oiled  loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Bake for 15 minutes then remove the pan of water. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown.

*Sourdough Starter

For those interested in homemade sourdough, this is the process I used to get mine going. I used pineapple juice to start mine and the resultant starter is wonderfully tangy. I recommend not using the starter for two weeks after starting. The longer it is fed, the better the quality of taste. I made a batch of bread 8 days after I began. It was good, but the bread I made a month after was even better.

Once I got my starter going, I let it grow in quantity until I have 3-4 cups in my canister. I either bake, give away, or discard 1 cup when it gets to be over this amount. The giveaway option is a wonderful gift to friends who love sourdough because they won’t have to go through the time it takes to get their own batch going. They will simply need to feed one day, 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to have enough to make a batch of bread the next day.

To maintain my starter, I feed daily, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour and 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup of water. Honestly, I don’t measure either the flour or the water. I “eyeball” the amounts.

Many of the sourdough people only keep a cup or less on hand. I like to have the larger amount because it’s easier to measure out what I need to use, and I have plenty leftover to keep the starter going.

I found this recipe on “The Fresh Loaf” from Debra Wink’s Sourdough starter. It is below, as I found it on the site.

Basic Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter

If you are the curious, investigative type (or a sourdough purist :-), this can be done with just water in place of the juice throughout. But for many (not all), a vigorous gas-producing bacterium will grow on day 2 and quit growing on day 3 or 4, followed by a few days or more of agonizing stillness. The fruit juice or cider should keep this bacteria (and a few others that are smelly) from growing and delaying the process. Either way, the end result will be the same sourdough starter. 

* Mad Scientist note: use good quality flour for your starter and your bread. In my opinion store brand and Gold Medal flours are subpar and your resultant starter and bread do not perform as good. Mad Scientist uses Dakota Mills, Wheat Montana or King Arthur flour

Day 1: mix . . . 
2 T. whole grain flour* (rye or wheat)
2 T. unsweetened pineapple juice, apple cider or orange juice    

Day 2: add . . . 
2 T. whole grain flour*
2 T. juice or cider    

Day 3: add . . . 
2 T. whole grain flour*
2 T. juice or cider    

Day 4: (and once daily until it starts to expand and smell yeasty), mix . . . 
2 oz. of the starter (1/4 c. after stirring down–discard the rest)
1 oz. flour** (scant 1/4 cup)
1 oz. water (2 tablespoons) 

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