sourdough bread

Friday, July 6, 2012

There are just some days.

Some good days, like today. Where the sun was shining down, tanning my far too pale legs. Avery and I spent the better part of the day soaking up all the vitamin D we could.

Then there are days that are just no good.

Today turned into that once Avery decided she was going to take 2 hours to fall asleep. And like the time I made sourdough bread.

I began this process a week in advance. I made a starter, fed it and cared for it lovingly until I got that sour, almost gross smell that you need to make sourdough.

The bread dough was no different than any other yeast dough, went pretty smoothly, bread making confidence was at an all-time high.

Until we got to the baking.

Get this picture in your mind. Husband and I in kitchen getting ready to bake some bread, baby just fell asleep, cats in living room doing cat stuff, oven is preheating with Pyrex dish as per recipe states.

Totes chill right?

Insert crazy loud smashing noise coming from oven.

The Pyrex dish exploded into a gazillion pieces in the oven. It was EVERYWHERE. It sounded like a bomb went off in the oven.

Good news, baby did not wake up.

Next is me going to get our shop vac to clean out the oven once it cools down, while trying to keep the cats away from sniffing and inspecting the glass shards.

Good news, baby did not wake up during vacuuming.

After this, all was back to normalcy and baking went fine. Minus the part where the recipe tells you to use a dish in the oven with water to help steam the bread.

Did not steam, dish exploded, bread turned out fine. And the baby sleeps through anything.

Sourdough bread
[ from the Kitchn ]

 Like I said above, before I could even begin to make the bread, I had to make the starter. It took a week and was dead simple. It's still living in my fridge, I feed it once a week and have not killed it yet. For a link to how I made my starter, click here.

2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups sourdough starter
4 - 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 extra cup (if needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the water and the yeast. Stir until combined and let rest for 1 - 2 minutes or until yeast is completely dissolved. Add the sourdough starter and stir to combine.

Add 4 - 5 cups of flour to the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon, adding only a cup at a time. Keep adding until you can non longer stir by hand. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface to knead. Knead the dough for a few minutes to bring it together. If your dough is super sticky, add more flour until you have a smooth dough. Let rest for 5 minutes. This will help the gluten relax and help with kneading later.

After the rest, flatten the dough with the heel of your palm and sprinkle in half of the salt. Fold the dough in half and flatten once again. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and fold in half once again. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. If the dough gets sticky and gummy, just knead in a couple tablespoons of flour. Let dough rest for another 5 minutes, then knead once again for 10 minutes. The dough is ready if you poke it, it springs back very quickly.

Clean out your bowl and lightly spray with oil. Place dough in bowl shake to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free area for at least 2 hours. This dough will only rise to a quarter of its size, not double.

After the first rise, cut the dough into two equal pieces and shape into balls. Let rest for 20 minutes to let the gluten relax. Meanwhile, grease two standard loaf pans with butter or non-stick spray.

After the rest, shape the loaves by using your hands to flatten each ball into a rectangle. Fold the rectangles in 3, like a letter, and pinch the seam closed. Place loaves into prepared pans, seam down. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

The original recipe says the following ;

"When the loaves have been rising for one hour, preheat the oven to 450-degrees Fahrenheit. Place an oven-safe pan (like a broiler pan) in the very bottom of the oven.
When the loaves are ready, bring two cups of water to a boil. Using a sharp serrated knife, slash the tops of the loaves in three or four places about 1/2 inch deep. Slide the loaves into the oven and pour the boiling water into the pan. Close the door immediately to trap in the steam."

I did not do this because my "oven-safe pan" exploded in the oven. But feel free to do as the recipe states.

I still slashed the tops of the loaves, but I baked them at 450 for 10 minutes, then rotated them, turned the oven down to 400 and then cooked them for 25 minutes. They were golden brown on the top and sounded hollow when I tapped them.

Let the loaves cool for a few minutes before inverting and letting the bread cool completely on a wire rack.

Slice and serve with a lot of butter. Sans glass shards.