Yesterday I was asked about the recipe I use for sourdough loaf bread. I don’t measure and I wrote her back and tried to explain how I do it but later in the day I made bread and I measured and will share my method.
We love the crusty sourdough round loaves of bread but find that the sandwich loaf is much more usable for us. The bread I make has the sourdough flavor and the crunchiness when toasted but doesn’t have huge holes for mayo, olives, and other good stuff to fall through. It’s impossible eating a tuna salad sandwich on bread with big holes but I do love the holes. They get so crunchy when toasted but, for now, I’m mostly making sandwich bread.
This is a fairly small loaf pan. It’s a 9″ Pullman pan and I like the pan because the sides are straight up and down (the top isn’t wider than the bottom). Bread made in the Pullman pans is so easy for making sandwiches.
Please use your judgment when making this recipe – any recipe really. Different flour, even if it is all-purpose . . some can be older, ground finer; even the humidity in your kitchen can affect the dryness in your bread. The more you make bread, the more you will know the right “feel” of the dough. And, different type breads have different feels but this is the basic jumping of point I’d recommend for making the sourdough loaf.
I start with 100 grams of starter. You want a starter than has been fed within a few hours. I take my starter out of the fridge, let it sit on the counter or about 4 hours. The I feed it and let it sit for about 8 hours. Then I’m ready to use it. Here’s the time frame I usually use:
6:00 p.m. – Take the starter out of the fridge and leave it on the counter.
10:00 p.m. – Feed the starter. Cover and leave on the counter overnight.
6:00 a.m. – Stir up the dough. Knead gently. Place dough in bowl and let it rest.
7:00 a.m. – Shape loaf.
3 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Depending on the vitality of your starter and the temp, bake the bread.
Having said that, that schedule isn’t written in stone. I had planned to make bread today but yesterday Vince wanted French Toast for breakfast and that put us having not much bread left so here’s the schedule I used:
7:00 a.m. – Took starter out of the fridge.
9:00 a.m. – Fed the starter.
1:00 p.m. – Stirred up the dough. Knead gently for a few minutes. Let it rest.
2:00 p.m. – Shaped the loaf and place it outside where it was warmer so it would rise faster.
8:00 p.m. – Baked the bread.
The dough is very forgiving. Just don’t let it rise too long, overproof and fall before you get it baked.
OK . . back to the recipe.
Start with 100 grams of well fed starter. Stir in 400 grams of all purpose flour (or flour of your choice), 300 grams of water, 12 grams of salt.
Stir the mixture. At this point, I felt the dough was too dry and added 20 additional grams of water.
You can see it’s very wet and shaggy. Knowing it will pick up a bit more flour while kneading, I want it to be wet at this point.
While kneading, I added about 40 additional grams of flour. I only knead it until it’s beginning to look a bit smooth.
See the difference? It’s smoother and holds its shape. At this point, cover it and leave it on the counter for about an hour.
It will still be wet but not as wet as it was in the previous step. I scrape it out of the bowl onto a very lightly floured counter and shape it into a loaf. I place the loaf in the loaf pan that has NOT been oiled. Cover it and place it in a warm spot until it has risen to the point where you want to bake it. Without yeast, it’s doubtful it will rise as much as any yeast bread you’ve ever made.
I should have taken a picture when I first placed it in the pan but I didn’t.
Bake at 375 for about 30 – 40 minutes. I usually put the loaf in a cold oven, turn it to 375 and bake for 40 minutes, but switch to convection for the last 7 or 8 minutes.
It’s the easiest bread to make. When I make a new loaf, I take the old loaf, cut it into squares, toss with a bit of olive oil and herbs and bake to make croutons which are so good in soups or salads!