Everyday Sourdough Bread
Corn free, dairy free and egg free and, Tasty!
Makes: 3 loaves when using glass Pyrex brand bread pans, likely two loaves using larger bread pans. Stay away from pans that are more than 4 ½ inches wide when baking yeasted breads. Pans that are wider are best reserved for quick breads.
The night before, or about 12 hours before baking, place one cup of starter into a container with about 2 ½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour, http://tinyurl.com/347s7e, and 2 cups water. Allow this to sit at room temperature or in a cozy spot (not above 85*) overnight. (See notes in the original sourdough document on this site for more information).
The next day, remove one cup starter and store in the refrigerator for your next batch of bread. Don’t forget to save one cup starter!
The remaining starter (approximately 3 cups)
6-6 1/5 c. all-purpose unbleached “safe flour”
(This measure of flour assumes you have stirred the flour first and taken a spoon to fill your dry measuring cup.)
2 T. sugar
2 t salt
1 ½ c water (approximately 85*)
2 tablespoons “safe” oil, or “safe” softened, room temperature, butter
Now, back to that remaining starter (above), place it in a large bowl. If you have a KitchenAid Mixer put it into that bowl now, if not, use a nice large bowl so that you don’t have to worry about “spillovers” as you stir.
1 c. flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. salt
1 ½ c warm water
2 T. Oil/butter
Now add about 4 cups of the flour and stir. Stir completely and add more flour as needed to form a dough that is too stiff to stir with the spoon.
Place the dough onto a floured board or place the bowl onto the KitchenAid mixer and put the dough hook in place.
Knead the bread, adding additional flour as required. You want a nice smooth dough, as the gluten develops the surface of the dough will become smooth in appearance and it will feel less sticky.
If you are new to bread making, beware, one of the biggest mistakes new bread bakers make is to add too much flour to their bread to combat the stickiness, this can cause a very dry loaf. Add a little flour and knead well, be patient. Set aside plenty of time in the beginning to learn the feel of this. You will bet much better at this in no time!
Lightly grease the outside of the dough ball (I usually oil the bowl, the same large bowl I used for the initial mixing, and then, turn the ball to cover all sides with the oil). When using the KitchenAid, I scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl and oil the bowl as best I can, making sure to also grease the top of the dough ball.
Cover the bowl and set aside for about 2 hours, it should be about doubled by then.
Push the dough down into the bowl, this will deflate most of the air that has built up, cover the bowl again and allow it to rest for about one half hour.
While the dough is resting this last time, get your bread pans out and grease them so they are ready when the dough is done with this rest.
After ½ hour, remove the dough from the bowl, cut into two or three equal pieces (depending on the size of your pans) and form them into loaves. You can do this “intuitively” or, you can roll the dough out flat and then roll that up into a loaf shape, pinching the ends and bottom seams to seal. I tend to take it in hand and using my wrists and fingers I turn it under until it falls into a nice loaf shape. (I hope someday to put some videos online showing different techniques) Place the dough into the pans, cover and set aside, check them in about 1 hour (I often place them into my electric oven with just the light bulb on to add gentle heat.) At this point they will likely be risen close to level with the edge of your pans. Remove them from the oven and preheat the oven to 375*. Let the oven reach temperature and then allow it to be hot while remaining empty for at least another 10 minutes before placing the loaves inside.
Just before placing the loaves in the hot oven, you might like to “slash” the dough. I generally take a knife, sharp, I prefer a thin blade, and well oiled it seems to make the slashing easier cutting through rather than ripping. These slashes I make about ¼” deep, I begin just breaking the surface, re-oil and then go over each slash to deepen the cuts. These slashes will allow your dough to expand a bit more once they hit the heat of the oven cavity, giving you a little more “oven bounce”, providing a little lighter loaf.
Check the loaves at about 30 minutes. They made need to be baked as long as 45 minutes depending on your oven and your pans. Baked bread will be nicely brown on top, it will have shrunk away from the sides of the pan and, when taken from the pan, and turned upside down, a thump on the bottom should result in an almost hollow sound, not a thud. If it thuds, put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
If you prefer a soft crust, oil or butter the tops of the hot loaves, being careful to just coat the surface, not make it greasy. I sometimes use a pastry brush at this point.
This bread baking day all together, not counting the starter that brews while you are asleep will require about 5 ½ to 6 hours. You will have lots of time in between the work to do other things.
Good luck! Let me know if there are questions about this recipe, I will try and fill in any details I may have missed. I think you will enjoy this loaf! My family sure does!