Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lif's Supposedly San Francisco Style Sourdough Bread

Note that my starter is iffy and my techniques are non-traditional.  I get hockey pucks as often as I get good bread.  The recipe below, however, is what I followed and got a really nice sour loaf - the longer rising time is what lets that sour develop.

1 c starter that's been sitting out at room temperature for at least 12 hours
1 c whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups water
2 tsp salt

Whisk together all the above ingredients.  If you whisk the starter before you measure it, you'll get a better measurement (you'll whisk the bubbles out of it).

 5 cups bread flour

Add flour a cup at a time, mixing with a spoon as long as you can.  When you can't mix with the spoon any longer, start kneading the dough, adding in the flour that way.  You might need more flour or less depending on factors I have no clue about.  I occasionally wet my  hands and that keeps the dough from sticking to my skin so much, but I'm told I'm a weenie for worrying about that.

Knead bread 10-15 minutes.  Let it rest half an hour or so, then divide it into loaves or shape it as you want and let it rise at room temperature, covered, till doubled.  The original recipe I used said this would take 12-15 hours but it took my dough 48 hours in the pilot-lit oven to double.  I use the oven because 1) my house gets cold in winter and 2) fewer cat & dog hairs get into the bread - they get on the dough somehow even if it's covered.  I don't cook much so tying up my oven for 2 days is no big deal.

Preheat the oven to 375° (take the dough out first if you used the oven to let it rise!).  Slash the top of the loaves with a razor before you bake it- I don't know what good that does but the instructions say to do that and it looks cool.  Bake about 45 minutes.  The original recipe said to bake till the inside temp gets to 190° but I've never put a thermometer in the bread - I might try that sometime, since I think that would mean fewer hockey pucks.  Also, I'm at high altitude - if you're a sea level baker, the internal temperature should be 205°.  

Note:  If you have stronger starter you will probably get a shorter rise time.  If the dough gets doubled at an inconvenient time for baking, you can punch it down, knead it for a few minutes and let it rise a second time - the second rise time will be shorter.  Or you can ignore the dough for a few hours till you're ready to bake, which is what I do.  

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