Sourdough Bread

© Katherine Stetson

The extended cool rise develops the degree of sourness.

Please review Bread Essentials for helpful tips and tricks.

Makes one large boule, two baguettes, four torpedoes, or eight rolls.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1½  cups spring water
  • ½ cup ‘fed’ sourdough starter

Mix the Dough

Combine dry ingredients in a 1 quart bowl and whisk together gently.

Pour the wet ingredient into a 2 quart proofing bowl and warm in the microwave to 100 degrees.

Add the sourdough starter and the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredient in the proofing bowl and stir to combine.  Ensure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated into the dough mass.  Dough will be somewhat stringy and tough, but only a minute or two of mixing is necessary.

Cover the proofing bowl with cello-wrap or a fitted lid.

Proof the Dough

Place the proofing bowl in a cool, draft-free location for 15-18 hours or until doubled in bulk and dimpled with small air pockets.

Work the Dough

Liberally flour your counter top and fingertips.  Tip the proofing bowl and gently extract the dough onto the counter.  The dough will be quite sticky.  Keep your fingertips floured as needed.

Smooth the surface of the dough with a little flour and turn it over.

Gently pat the dough into an oblong, approximately 4” by 8” (1 inch high).  Fold both ends inward, like a business letter.  Upend the dough and gently shape into a small oblong, approximately 3” by 5” (3 inches high).  This is your finished dough.

Shape the Dough

For a boule, leave the finished dough form as is for a long boule or gently tuck the ends under for a round boule. Place boule onto parchment paper atop an inverted or edge-free cookie sheet or pizza peel, cover and let rest for 2-3 hours until doubled in bulk.

For baguettes, slice the finished dough in half lengthwise (a bench scraper works best, but a sharp knife is also fine).  Using your hands, roll each piece into an 8 to 10 inch tube.  If the dough is uncooperative, let it rest for ten minutes and try again. Place baguettes onto parchment paper atop an inverted or edge-free cookie sheet or pizza peel and let rest for 2-3 hours until doubled in bulk.

For torpedoes, slice the finished dough in quarters lengthwise (a bench scraper works best, but a sharp knife is also fine).  Using your hands, roll each piece into a 5 to 6 inch tube, tapering the ends as you go.  If the dough is uncooperative, let it rest for ten minutes and try again. Place torpedoes onto parchment paper atop an inverted or edge-free cookie sheet or pizza peel and let rest for 2-3 hours until doubled in bulk.

For rolls, slice the finished dough in half lengthwise (a bench scraper works best, but a sharp knife is also fine) and slice each piece into four equal pieces for a total of eight.  Leave the pieces as is for a rustic look or gently shape into a more symmetrical ball.  Place rolls onto parchment paper atop an inverted or edge-free cookie sheet or pizza peel and let rest for 2-3 hours until doubled in bulk.

Bake the Bread

Place a baking stone on the center oven rack.  Place a broiler or roasting pan on the lowest rack.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Using a pastry brush, gently brush the entire surface of the bread with your choice of glaze or wash and sprinkle with seeds or nuts as desired.

Make several decorative slashes across the top of the bread with a very sharp knife.

Slide the dough and its parchment directly onto the baking stone.  Pour one cup of water into the broiler or roasting pan.  Set timer for 15 minutes.

Carefully open the oven door (it’s a steam bath), and rotate the bread 180 degrees.  Set the timer for 15 minutes.

Use oven mitts or potholders and carefully tip the bread onto its top.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the (exposed) bottom of the bread is browned evenly.

Remove the bread to a cooling rack and let cool for several hours.  When ready to serve, use a serrated knife for slicing.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.