Friday, April 22, 2011

The Business of Bread

I made my first successful loaf of bread, and my first ever sourdough!  I just can't get over this bread.  I ate it for a snack, for dinner, for breakfast, for lunch, passed it to anyone who would try it, and sadly, have none left.  I will be making it again, though, and will also be trying sourdough pizza dough very soon!

This endeavor began Monday night when my mom and I attended a breadmaking class at Whole Foods in Fresno.  (Check out the Whole Foods website to see their other classes.  Maybe you want to attend one yourself?)  The chef-instructor, Hillori Hansen, taught us all about sourdough and even offered us our very own sourdough starter!   I couldn't wait to try out the recipe.

Although the recipe is super simple, going from the first step to the final result was about a 20 hour process.  But the majority of that time was the dough sitting on my counter rising, so it sounds worse than what it was.  Here are a few photos, and the recipe follows.  If anyone is interested in making this and needs a starter, ask me!!  I'd love to share!

My first ball of dough.  Not much, but it'll grow!
After the first main rise...looking good!
After the second rise.  I split the dough into two loaves and left one round and put one in a loaf pan
All ready to bake!
(Don't stare at this photo too long.  It starts to look very...um...unpleasant.) 
The final result!  Beautiful golden sourdough bread!  Yum!

One proud little baker!
Basic Sourdough Bread

Ingredients to freshen starter:
sourdough starter (contact me if you need one!)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups warm water

Take your 1/2 cup sourdough starter and add to it flour and water.  Let it sit overnight.  It should be active and bubbly.  Now your starter is "freshened" and ready to use for your recipe!  This recipe calls for 1/2 c starter, so put the rest back in the fridge to be used later.  Don't use all your starter, or you won't have any for next time!

Ingredients for bread:
1/2 cup starter
1 1/4 c water
1 1/2 c flour
2 t honey
1 1/2 t salt
2 c flour
1 t baking yeast

Combine starter, 1 1/4 c water, and 1 1/2 c flour.  Set in a warm place until bubbly (several hours).  Once it is good and bubbling, add the honey, salt, 2 c flour, and the baking yeast.  Mix well and knead, using flour to keep it from sticking to the board.  Continue to knead until it's smooth and elastic, about 8 - 10 minutes.  Put the dough in a medium bowl that has been lightly oiled.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area until nearly double.

Once the dough rises to nearly double, scrape dough out and knead slightly to get rid of any bubbles.  Place into an oiled bread pan or on a baking stone.  Cover and allow to rise to nearly double, until it basically looks the shape you want it to be.

Once it rises, bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until it's golden brown and "thumps" when done.  (I'm not really sure what "thumping when done" means, but 40 minutes was perfect.)

So...
1.  "Freshen" the starter overnight.
2.  Add a little flour and water to 1/2 c starter and let rise.
3.  Add more flour and other ingredients, knead, and let rise.
4.  Put it in the loaf pan or on the stone and let rise again.  (I did both!  3/4 went into a small loaf pan, and a small mound of it was baked on the stone.)
5.  Bake!

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations! It was great! We ate our share for breakfast this morning. Well done.

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  2. Those are some awesome loaves Candace! I like the Cross-wise pattern on the round. Perfect timing for Easter!

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  3. okay...your bread looks fantastic, but can i say that after looking at your photos the only thing i could think was "i am so jealous she can wear that because it's warm enough!!" :) haha...the joy of living in the pnw!

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