Friday, August 10, 2012

Sourdough Starter and Bread

SourdoughI finally found a method of making sourdough starter and bread that works for me.  I've tried starter you feed and put in the refrigerator, but with little success. 

Then tried this method suggest by a foodie message board poster: feed and mix several days and store starter on kitchen counter for 6 days, then make bread on 7th day, baking in a Dutch oven.


For the starter, called the "Mother."
On day 1: In a 1-1/2 to 2 quart glass bowl mix 2 cups of regular white flour with 1-1/2 cups of warm water and a pinch of active yeast. Mix with wooden spoon and cover bowl with a damp cloth.  I bought a tall clear glass canister with a lid and use that.

Each day for 5 more days add in and stir 1/3 of flour and 1/4 cup of water; cover again.

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On 7th day, remove a cup and a half of starter to make bread, and set aside the remaining "Mother" letting it rest that day. You will continue the next day to again add 1/3 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water to replenish it for 6 days before making another loaf.

Making Sourdough Bread
1-1/2 cups of starter you removed
3 to 4 cups of flour
2 cups of water
1 tsp. salt
corn meal for sprinkling pan

Early in the day, in a large gallon size glass bowl, mix and combine starter, flour, water and salt.  Use your hands or stir with a wooden spoon. It will be sticky. A very large bowl is needed as it will greatly increase in size when rising.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise 8-12 hours at 80 to 100 degrees temperature.

Dutch Oven soughdough
When ready to bake:

CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN METHOD - Put gallon size Dutch oven pan with lid on in the oven and turn oven to preheat at 400 degrees.
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Cast Iron

Using a cotton towel, spread lots of flour until it is covered. Pull risen dough out of the bowl and put it in the middle of the towel. Sprinkle the top with flour and then fold over the edges of the dough to form a mounded loaf.

Turn dough over so the rough edges face down. Don't knead, just gently fold dough to shape. Cover dough with a towel and allow to set for at least 30 minutes or until oven is ready.  I've let it set for and hour or more until I was ready to bake.
Sourdough
When the oven is ready, using mitts pull your pan out, remove lid, and sprinkle bottom with cornmeal. Place hands under towel and flip dough over into pan, put lid on and bake for 30 minutes. Take lid off and bake 10 more minutes.  Internal temperature should read 200 degrees.

Sourdough
Stainless Steel Pot
Flip it out of the pan to wire rack to cool.
If not having a cast iron Dutch oven, a stainless steel soup pot with lid works well, too.

COOKIE SHEET METHOD - Dust your counter with flour. Divide dough, knead and form into 2 smooth-topped balls. they look like balloons. The bottom will be rough. Coast top with flour. Sprinkle sheet with cornmeal. Put on sheet. Cut a couple of slashes on the tops.

Let loaves sit 4 hours or so (they need to re-rise from the kneading). When ready, put in preheated 400 degree oven for 30 min, or until crust is done. 200 degrees internally and it's done.

Starter can also be used for pancakes, biscuits, rolls, pizza dough and other recipes available on the internet.

Estimated cost: .90 cents a loaf or less for one large loaf.