The search for sourdough part 2

My first attempt at sourdough was less than amazing.  It was flat and not as sourdough-y as I wanted.  This time, I wanted a nice crusty loaf with a soft interior that could be used for a solid sandwich bread.  Packaged along with my replacement sourdough starter was a small pamphlet with feeding instructions and a few basic recipes.  The first one was Rustic Sourdough Bread and looked like a super basic loaf and a good place to start.

One of my biggest problems with I first started baking bread was adding too much flour to the dough in order to make it “workable”–whatever that meant.  I’ve since learned that dough will become less sticky as it is kneaded and adding more flour at the beginning will only lead to sadness and a dry loaf.


I added only a touch of flour to this dough and it came together despite being a fairly wet dough.  Just keep working on the dough and trust in the gluten development.  And commit to having nasty dough covered hands by the end of the experience.  Your hands are washable.

After  a couple of rises and a bake, the bread was perfect.  I made these two freeformish loaves but I’ve since made this a few times and am now usually baking it in a 8×4 loaf pan to give myself nice sandwich slices for lunches.

I’ve also been halving the recipe since this bread does not keep for long.  Its kind of a shame but its so delicious we usually end up finishing a loaf in the few days we have with it.  This is also a super easy dough and has become a standard twice a week bake here the last few weeks.

bread

 

The One Loaf Sourdough Option

1/2 cup fed sourdough.  You’ll probably end up discarding another 1/2 cup from your feeding but I find its easier to dump 1/2 cup of starter than an entire loaf of bread.

3/4 cups lukewarm water

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

generous 1 teaspoon salt

300 grams AP flour

Combine all ingredients and knead until the dough comes together and forms a smooth ball.  Place in an oiled bowl to rise until doubled (about 90 minutes).  Turn out and fold a few times to gently deflate.  Shape into a loaf and place in an 8×4 loaf pan.  Cover and allow to rise for about an hour (it won’t double but it will rise a bit). Preheat oven to 425 near the end of the second rise.  Slash tops and bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely golden brown.  Remove from oven and turn out of loaf pan and allow to fully cool.

Basic Sandwich Bread Scrimmage: King Arthur Flour’s Favorite

Slices!

Whew!  I’m back!  Moving sucks, people.  There is no real way around it.  We still aren’t fully unpacked but we have the basics set up and I’m *nearly* back to my normal kitchen routines.

Now that the kids are back in school, it is hardcore sandwich time!  My son takes a PB&J every single day to school and you just know that means I have to bake him bread!  Today’s offering was the Our Favorite Sandwich Bread from King Arthur Flour.  It is a nice basic dough with some milk and butter in it for some richness.

The dough came together beautifully and I only needed to add a little extra flour during kneading to cut down on stickiness.  

kneading

I will admit here that I got carried away unpacking in another room and really let it rise too long on the second rise.  Oops.

overprooved

I don’t know if this over-rising or my lingering unfamiliarity with a new oven was to blame but this loaf came out kind of blonde and soggy on the bottom (though it did firm up as it cooled and hardened up) and a little over browned on top.  Even though it wasn’t the most beautiful loaf, it was really delicious!  It was soft but not overly so–we aren’t talking bunny bread or anything here. The flavor was much richer than the previous sandwich bread I had tried–the non swirled version of Cinnamon Swirl Bread which was a dough with much less dairy and fat in it than this new recipe. Overall, I liked it…but the baking trouble means I need to give it one more go before I decide if it is a keeper.

bread!

King Arthur Flour’s Favorite Sandwich Bread
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick, 1 ounce) butter or margarine
2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Heat the milk to simmer on the stove or, like me, in the microwave.  Add the butter and, once it cools, the yeast.  Let that start bubbling while you measure out the dry ingredients.  Combine them all and knead for 8 minutes or until the dough is nice and smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl and allow to rise for about an hour.  Mine nearly doubled in size but not quite.  Then, shape it into a loaf and plop it in your 9×4 loaf pan.  Allow it to rise for another hour (I forgot mine for two full hours here) until it is an inch above the rim of the pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 or until golden brown.