I saw a recipe posted on the Instructables’ site that promised real sourdough bread. The sourdough taste, the chewy texture, and the crispy crunch. The whole deal. I had to try it. So, I got Sourdough Sam out and went to work.
The recipe is posted here: Sourdough Bread
You start by making the dough using a batter method. This is nice because it is easy to do by hand. There is no kneading as this is a slow rise method. I have read about it but never tried it.
I only made 1/2 of the recipe as it makes a 4 1/2 pound loaf. A little much for the wife and I. Also, you have to cook it in a Dutch oven. I only have a four quart Dutch oven which would have been too small.
There are very few ingredients and it only takes about 5 minutes to do the first mix of flour, sourdough starter, salt, water and a touch of yeast. The recipe calls for bread flour but states you can use all purpose flour which is what I used. I did not add whole wheat flour in this first attempt. Once the ingredients are mixed, you cover the dough and let it rise for 12 to 15 hours depending on the room temperature. I let it rise for 13 hours and the temperature of my
kitchen is 15 C/60 F.
You then have to work some more flour into the dough. Rather than knead it in as with a regular bread, you put your hand under the dough and turn the edge over the top. I did this for 3 or four minutes. The dough is very slack and you really have to keep flouring your hand. I was a little concerned with how soft the dough was as I haven’t done this method before. However, I stopped when the dough became elastic and it seemed to match the picture she supplied.
You empty the dough out of the bowl and clean the bowl. If you have never worked with sourdough before, this is where you will find out that sourdough dries out like concrete. Regardless, clean the bowl and give it a generous coating of oil. Put the dough back in the bowl
and cover it. Let it rise for 3 to 4 hours unless your kitchen is warm. The recipe discusses this quite well. I let mine rise for 3 hours 15 minutes.
Put the Dutch Oven or pot into a 450 F oven and preheat for 30 minutes. I sprinkled oatmeal on the bottom to prevent sticking. I turned the dough carefully into the Dutch Oven, put the cover on and placed it back in the oven. It baked for 30 minutes and I removed the cover and baked it for another 15 minutes.
I like most breads but this is stunning. It absolutely tastes like a real sourdough bread. The crust is crispy. The interior has a nice chew but is still soft. The sourdough taste is definitely there. I would pay a lot of money for this loaf from a bakery (well not now that I know how to make it).
The only down side is how long it takes to make a loaf. However, you don’t spend a lot of time making the loaf. Each step is quite quick. It just takes a long time between steps.
This is definitely going to be in my bread rotation from now on!
The Old Fat Guy