Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Whole Grain Sourdough Bread
A friend gave me some sourdough starter about a month ago and I've been dying to use it, but I've been so busy that I hadn't been able to coordinate refreshing the starter and baking when it was refreshed (you are supposed to use it with 24 hours of refreshing). Anyway, I was finally able to get it together this weekend and I am so glad I did. The loaves rose wonderfully and my family is absolutely raving about this bread.
Here is my recipe . . . however I varied it slightly because to use the flour I had from my grain CSA box. My starter was rye starter which made the dough slightly stickier to knead. Then I used 2 cups of wheat flour and 2+ cups of spelt flour. It doesn't really matter which kind of flour you use, just make sure it is glutenous (wheat, spelt, rye are the best, barley has some gluten but is best in combination with wheat or spelt).
Whole Wheat or Spelt Sourdough Bread
I prefer to work with a slightly dry dough and knead with wet hands on a wet board. I find this helps to keep bread tender.
2 cups Sourdough Starter (at room temperature)
1 cup warm distilled or purified water
2 1/2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
4+ cups whole wheat or spelt flour
Place starter in large mixing bowl and stir in water. Stir in salt. Stir in flour, one cup at a time. If it becomes too thick, mix with wet hands. Place a bowl of water at work station. Wet a large bread board or work surface. Place dough on wet surface. Keeping hands wet, knead for 5 minutes. (Sourdough does not need as vigorous a kneading as yeasted bread.) Wet the board as necessary to keep dough from sticking. If dough becomes too wet, knead in a little more flour. When dough is smooth and elastic, shape into a ball and place in mixing bowl. Cover with damp towel and place in warm, draft-free place. (If it's a cold day, I place my oven on warm while I am kneading and then turn off the heat and let my dough rise in the warmed oven.) Let dough rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in size. Press your finger into the dough. If it does not spring back, it is ready.
Oil two loaf pans. If dough is sticky, flour work surface and hands. If dry, use water as before. Knead dough about 10 times. Divide dough in half and form two loaves. Place one in each pan. Cover with damp towel and place in warm draft-free place to rise. (I rewarm the oven again during this second kneading.) If rising in oven, you may want to set a bowl of boiling water on the bottom.) Let dough rise about 1 hour. The dough should have risen noticeably. Do not overproof or the bread will not rise in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425º. Make sure it is at this temperature before putting bread in. Bake at 425º for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes. You should hear a hollow sound when tapping on top and bottom of bread.
Remove immediately from pans and cool on wire rack. (Tip: If bread doesn’t drop out of the pan, it is probably not done so put it back in the oven and bake it a little longer.)
Makes 2 loaves