Saturday, March 1, 2014

Classic Sourdough Bread

This bread was delicious.  I fed my sourdough on Thursday night and then started the bread on Saturday.  I finished and baked it on Sunday because we ended up not being home on Saturday afternoon.  I will make this again!

Classic Sourdough Bread

1 cup ( 9 ounces) "fed" sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) lukewarm water
5 to 6 cups (21 1/4 to 25 1/2 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
cornmeal to sprinkle on pans

Pour the cup of starter into a large mixing bowl. Add the warm water and about 3 cups of flour. Beat vigorously. Cover this sponge with plastic wrap and put it aside to work. This period can be very flexible, but allow at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. A longer period (at a lower temperature) will result in a more sour favor.

After the dough has bubbled and expanded, remove the plastic wrap. Blend in the salt, sugar, and remaining 2 cups of flour. Mix until the dough comes together, then knead, using your hands, an electric mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add only enough extra flour to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and let it rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into an oval loaf, and place on a lightly greased, cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet. Cover, and let rise until doubled (this can take up to 2 hours). Remove the cover, slash the tops, and bake in a preheated 450°F oven for approximately 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool on rack.

Yield: 2 loaves.

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