Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Path to Sourdough Recipe

I have been on a journey for what I consider to be the true, traditional Sourdough bread... Actually, it is the sourdough that my cousin's best friend's mom Cindy used to make (seriously!). It was so good, and definitely not a "San Francisco Sourdough." It was light, soft, and a bit sweet and rich, and of course tangy. I can't remember if she kept the recipe as a family secret or not, but I haven't seen any of her family in probably a decade or more. Occasionally I run across local bakers at Farmer's Markets or some such that make the same bread. I'm beginning to suspect that it is actually bread made from the Sweet Herman variant... and soon I will be able to test this theory since my friend Heather gave me some Sweet Herman starter from her family! :^D

But this loaf is easily my best Sourdough experiment yet! This came out dense and a little moist, with a lightly crunchy crust. Most of its rise seemed to happen in the oven, and mine didn't rise all that much even then. The top layer flaked up and partly separated (I kind of liked it!). It has just the right amount of sourdough tang to my taste. It is not the sweet, soft bread I have been seeking, but it is a wonderful bread to enjoy for its own sake. Its mellow tang works equally well with sweet or savory foods and it's good enough to eat straight.

And it is quite delicious in my awesome chicken soup from last night. ;^D

Basic Sourdough Bread Recipe
(No kneading necessary)

On the night before baking, combine and mix:
  • 135g Sourdough Starter straight from the fridge
  • 135g Water
  • 135g Bread Flour (Use about a third or ~45g Wheat Flour in this for flavor & texture)
Cover and let rise ~12 hours (overnight).

Next morning, add the following ingredients and mix thoroughly:

  • 1.5 tbsp Sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp Salted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • (Bread Flour and Olive Oil - See below)

Then add just enough bread flour to make a sticky dough (or add enough flour to handle and knead as you normally would, if you prefer).

Cover and let rise 3 hours. My dough didn't look all that excited, but it smelled right. Grease a bread pan thoroughly with olive oil. Throw your dough into the pan and roll it a little to make sure it's coated.

Cover and let rise 3 hours again. My dough actually looked flatter when I came back to it...

Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until pale brown and crusty. Turn out onto a rack to cool and enjoy! I burned my fingers a little bit while enjoying mine. ;^)

No comments: