Saturday, March 17, 2012

That's It! Right There!

I found it.  The sweet spot.  The perfect combination.  I've been trying for a couple years to find the perfect sourdough recipe recipe.  Its partly the right starter and its partly the recipe.  Recipes with just starter, flour, and water are a little bland.  So after searching and trying and growing what probably amounts to gallons of sourdough starter, I found the right combo of richness (milk and sugar in the dough) that still lets the sour starter show through.

One note about sourdough bread.  People will think you are crazy.  Apparently it was standard in California kitchens about a century to century and a half ago that you could always find sourdough starter bubbling.   However, in this modern day of making sure everything is hermetically sealed and preserved beyond recognition, having something bubbling, growing, and smelling sour on your countertop will make people worry about your sanity and the cleanliness of your kitchen.  Perhaps talking to it and feeding it periodically doesn't help the matter........  But really, its the best way to get good sourdough.  And there is nothing better than hot sourdough straight from the oven with a good smear of butter.  Real butter.

San Francisco Sourdough Bread

  • 4 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast. Add milk and softened butter or margarine. Stir in starter. Mix in up to 3 3/4 cups flour gradually, you may need more depending on your climate.
  2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to oil surface, and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
  3. Punch down, and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into loaves. Place on a greased baking pan. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
  4. Brush egg wash over tops of loaves.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or till done.

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