In my opinion I think sourdough gets a bad rap. It can be an intimidating bread to bake because of the steps, and time involved. A great recipe, and starter will do amazing things for you. I used a basic starter in mine (recipe below) and liked the results. Not only was it easy to make its only 4 ingredients! I did do the dutch oven method when baking the sourdough. Dutch ovens are great for baking sourdough because they keep the steam in. If you have a convection oven the steam will be blown out and it wont allow for the crust to become crisp. Ill cover more below. Enjoy the sourdough.
In one of the large bowls mix together dry yeast, 2 cups warm water, and 2 cups all purpose flour.
Cover loosely with a towel and set in a warm place preferably around 71 F.
All the starter to ferment for 2 to 5 days. Times will vary due to the temperature and humidity level in your kitchen. Keep an eye on it if your bowl is not at least twice as big as your dough. You may have an over flow when it expands.
When mixture is bubbly and has a pleasant sour smell, it is ready to use. If mixture has a pink, orange, or any other strange color tinge to it, THROW IT OUT! and start over. Keep it in the refrigerator until the day you decide to bake.
Bring the starter to room temperature before adding it to the sourdough dough.
Form a mound of flour and using the bottom of your measuring cup make a well or volcano shape. Add the starter into the well and carefully mix in the flour by hand. Once the flour and starter are mixed make another indentation into the top and slowly add a bit of the water. Mix the water in and repeat till all the water is incorporated. Hand knead for about 5 mins. Flour the sides and cover with a towel and allow to rest for 25-30 mins
After the dough as had time to rest knead the dough folding it, and then rotating the dough by 90 degrees. Each time you knead the dough add a pinch of salt to the center. Work the salt into the dough and knead for about 20 mins. ( I know that’s intense if its by hand!) If you happen to have a Kitchenaid mixer, knead for about 10 mins.
Once kneaded form a ball and place it in a floured bowl. Sprinkle some water on top I used a spray bottle to mist the top of mine, and cover with plastic wrap. Be sure the bowl is deep enough to allow for expansion of the dough. Allow to ferment for about 3-4 hours.
Do the poke test poke the dough and if it is easy to poke and takes a while for the dough to spring back, fermentation is complete. Take a sharp knife and cut the dough down the center into two equal pieces . Take one of the 2 pieces and carefully flatten out with your hands to move the air out of the piece. Fold over then flatten. Repeat 3-4 times. This is a technique called punching and folding which helps redistribute flour to yeast. You don’t want to rip or shred your dough, so it’s more of a fold and flatten than a knead.
Shape your dough into a circle, place it on a sheet foil, then inside of a bowl. Sprinkle the top of the bread with a bit of water then seal with plastic wrap till air tight (very important). Then place into the refrigerator for 8-12 hours but not more than 24 hours. Letting the dough rest gives it its distinct sourdough flavor.
Next day – You have two choices of baking basically do you have a dutch oven or not. If so keep reading if not go to #8. Put your Dutch oven with lid in the oven 450F. Allow the dutch oven to come up to temperature Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. Sprinkle water over the dough, then take a sharp knife and quickly cut a cross across the top of the dough about 1/4 inch deep. This will give you the X look. Then lift the dough by the foil sheet and drop into the Dutch oven and close the lid. Return the Dutch oven into the oven and bake at 475 F for 35 mins. After 35 mins, the internal temperature of the bread should be near 190 F. Remove and place on a cooling rack. After 20-30 mins, enjoy your awesome Sourdough bread!
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