Sourdough Bread

Ingredients:

  • sponge from previous recipe you will have approximately 3-4cups
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

Supplies:

  • bowl for mixing or standing mixer with dough hook
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • resealable container
  • Pam or other vegetable oil spray
  • Saran Wrap or other plastic wrap
  • tea towel
  • pizza stone
  • empty pan and or water spray bottle
  • sharp knife, lame or razor blade

Directions:

Take your sponge out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Reserve 1 cup and place back in your fridge for another day of bread baking. :)

The remaining sponge will go into a bowl. Add 4 cups of flour and 2 1/2  tsp of salt per taste. I mix this around with my hands briefly.

Now add your water to the bowl and start incorporating this into your starter.  If you have a mixer with a dough hook I let it go for about 10 minutes till I get my window pane test positive. What the heck is a window pane test you ask?? No worries I will be getting there shortly.

So if you are kneading by hand then work on your counter top surface and instead of adding more flour when the dough is hard to work with and starts to stick use Pam spray instead. We want a nice soft slightly tacky dough.

You will notice changes in your dough from the beginning you have a shaggy mess:

Not much gluten formation here. Protein strands in the dough are just starting to take their places.

Knead a little more and:

You can see that it is not as shaggy in appearance and the dough is stretching a bit when I pull on it.

We knead to Knead a little more :)

Wow look at what we have here!! Looks like those gluten strands have lined up in a straight line after all! For properly kneaded dough we need to have this elasticity and suppleness of the dough it should be soft and a bit tacky to the touch.

Now I always check my dough with a window pane test. This is known in the bread baking world as a test to check the gluten formation in your dough.  You take a small chunk of dough and stretch it out as thin as you can get it. You should be able to stretch it till you have a thin membrane that is translucent (like a window pane) Hence the name of the test. If your membrane breaks before you can stretch it out then you know you have to knead a bit more.

Alright once you have your dough well kneaded then take the same bowl and spray it with Pam Spray. Put your dough back in and spray the top of the dough with Pam Spray.

To prevent your dough from forming a dried outer skin on the top as it's rising I always take a piece of plastic wrap and place it directly on the dough. Then place a tea towel over your bowl and let it rise at room temperature till double in bulk. I find that wild yeast fermentation is typically slower than commercial yeast and I leave mine on the counter for about 4 hours before I use it for baking.

Ok so now we form our loaves. I choose to make 4 boule with the dough. Spray your work surface with Pam Spray and dump your dough onto that area. Divide in 4 equal parts.

You can use a sharp knife or a bench scraper. I love the bench scraper for all sorts of baking not just bread.

Now I pick up one section at a time and pinch all the ends into a tight wad under your nicely rounded ball of dough. The reason we do this is to produce a good surface tension on the dough to help lift its 2nd rise.

Careful not to handle the dough too much, we don't want to deflate all our hard work :)

Place all 4 boule's on a piece of parchment paper and let rise for 1 hour. Spray the top of your dough with Pam spray again and add the plastic wrap directly onto the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel to proof.

Alright now 1/2 hour before your proofing time is up heat your oven to 550degrees Fahrenheit with your pizza stone in the oven, in the middle position. If you have a pan handy you can place an empty pan on the other rack.

Mine is well used :)

When we place the bread in the oven we will want to produce steam by pouring hot water into the empty pan or  I also use an empty clean spray bottle with water to spray the sides of the stove to create steam.  The steam will help us get that beautiful artisan crust.

Now take the plastic off your boule's and slide the parchment paper on to a pizza peel or upside down cookie sheet so you will be able to slide the dough onto the pizza stone in the oven.

With an extremely sharp knife or razor blade slash the top's of the bread about 1/8-1/4 inch.

I am using a lame here which is basically a razor blade on the end of a stick for slashing purposes :)

Ok here comes the magic!! I spray the tops of my boule's with one more shot of Pam Spray. This is to help brown the bread, You can use egg wash, melted butter even water will deepen the color then leaving it "au naturale"

As you slide the boule's on your stone then pour some hot water into your empty pan to create steam and if you have a water bottle give the sides of your oven a couple of spritz and close the door.

CAUTION HERE!!!  If you are clumsy like me you may want to place a tea towel over the oven door window to prevent any water splashing onto it and CRACKING the oven window!!! I usually stick to my water bottle no chance of that happening. lol

After 30 seconds open the door of the oven and spritz the walls again and I also spray the bread directly.

Wait another 30 seconds and repeat! Now we can turn the oven down to 425 and cook your bread for approximately 30 min. You can even rotate your bread half way through for even cooking. The color should be darkening up, they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom and the internal temperature of the bread should reach 198 degrees.

After 10 minutes they are already getting a nice oven spring!!

Take them out of the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes before cutting into them.

If you can wait that long!! Bon Apettite!

 

[recipe title="Sourdough Bread" servings="8" time="5hours(including rising time)" difficulty="medium"]

Ingredients:

  • sourdough sponge approximately 3-4cups
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

Directions:

Put your sponge into a bowl. Add 4 cups of flour and 2 1/2  tsp of salt per taste. I mix this around with my hands briefly.

Now add your water to the bowl and start incorporating this into your starter.  If you have a mixer with a dough hook I let it go for about 10 minutes.

So if you are kneading by hand then work on your counter top surface and instead of adding more flour when the dough is hard to work with and starts to stick use Pam spray instead. We want a nice soft slightly tacky dough.

Alright once you have your dough well kneaded then take the same bowl and spray it with Pam Spray. Put your dough back in and spray the top of the dough with Pam Spray.

To prevent your dough from forming a dried outer skin on the top as it's rising I always take a piece of plastic wrap and place it directly on the dough. Then place a tea towel over your bowl and let it rise at room temperature till double in bulk. I find that wild yeast fermentation is typically slower than commercial yeast and I leave mine on the counter for about 4 hours before I use it for baking.

Ok so now we form our loaves. I choose to make 4 boule with the dough. Spray your work surface with Pam Spray and dump your dough onto that area. Divide in 4 equal parts.

Form your dough into batards, boules whichever you'd like and cover with plastic wrap and tea towel. Allow to rise again.

Transfer to pizza stone in your oven and cook in a preheated 425 degree oven for aprox 30 min. Internal temperature should be 200 degrees.

Allow to rest for 1/2 hour and enjoy.

[/recipe]