Sunday, March 11, 2012
Sourdough bread: an all-day affair
iddling with my sourdough starter since getting it to a ripe-ish state has been largely experimental, so far. I made a couple of loaves, but no recipe to date has really stood out as a keeper. I think a large part of the blame lies with me, as I have been improperly adapting recipes to whole wheat (or so I learned when reading a few recipes this weekend)... something you have to be a bit careful with or you'll get some pretty dense (er, heavy) loaves of bread.
Enter Pinterest, once again. And having good pinners to follow (in this case, dear friend and neighbor Laura)! I saw her pin a "slow rise sourdough" this past week and promptly tucked it away on my baking board without really looking it over. As I pulled my starter out of the fridge yesterday to warm and rest before feeding it again this week--that happens every Sunday whether I bake or not, I've been pretty good about that--I started to peruse some new sourdough recipes, and landed on the one I'd pinned just this week. I wasn't thrilled to see that the recipe was really-truly slow rise--15 hours (approximately) for the first rise, 4-5 hours for the second, but I happened to see that if your kitchen is warmer (ie, it's summer, which of course it is not), it could move along a little more quickly.
Given that my schedule isn't quite as flexible right now, getting things done on Sunday or having it timed just right for after-work baking, is kind of important. So I stuck the dough for its first rise in my convection oven with the light on, which can warm to a happy 80 degrees... and sure enough, it rose and bubbled beautifully in about 7 hours. Feeling optimistic, I hopped on to the next rise, which was also accomplished in about 1/2 the recipe time--2 hours... 45 minutes or so of a pre-warmed dutch oven and a hot oven, and voila! A lovely bedtime snack of warm bread and some of that heavenly blood orange jam I mentioned last weekend. Yum.
This bread is definitely a keeper. I'm already looking forward to making it again next weekend, though I may start earlier in the weekend, and finish on Sunday--theory is that the slower the rise, the deeper the sourdough flavor, and I'm all for that. If anything, this was more a crusty loaf of peasant-style bread, not truly SOURdough. But if getting it done quickly is on your list, this recipe adapts a-ok.
And one last note: best crust I've achieved on a loaf, ever. Crispy, crunchy, oh-so-good.