I’d love to give you some long story about my childhood and baking bread on the rooftop brick ovens of Calabria, but let’s be frank. You want a bread recipe and I want one more post up this week.
This blog, like sourdough, does not need to be overly complex. You just need to do it.
This recipe became born when I had too big of a mother starter and I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. I tweaked a perfectly good recipe to incorporate more starter and less water and flour. The result is a very thin-crust (but ver crunchy) and fluffy center. The bread talks when cooling on the counter. The loaves make an audible crackling sound because they are a wetter dough. Pretty cool and yummy!
I promise to add more images and fluff later, but for now, my friend Tara would appreciate these recipes.
SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE:
Yield: 2 Loaves
Time: 3-4 hours (depending on room temperature)
- 2 Cups Sourdough Starter | 285grams
- 3/4 – 1 cup water | about 225 grams (warm, almost room temp)
- 1 tsp yeast | 3.5 grams
- 2 1/2 tsp salt | 15grams
- 4 3/4 Cups of Bread Flour | 570grams
- Semolina flour to dust the pan
- Bread is very forgiving. Breath and don’t stress. I’ll be sure to add a ton of notes and tips throughout this recipe. For now, put all of your ingredients in your mixer bowl, attach the dough hook and run on low. Add the water slowly. Start at 3/4 cup and add the rest of you need. Your kitchen environment humidity will affect this part.
- Mix on low until all of the loose flour has been mixed in. If you turned it on high right away you’ll get a poof of flour and a mess. Take is slow and turns up the speed as you go. I use my number 4 setting out of 10 on my mixer.
- If you are using a mixer, or your hands, you’ll want to knead the dough until window pane. Some bakers say this isn’t necessary. If you are using All Purpose Flour you may never reach this stage. Bread flour has a higher protein content which helps with gluten activation.
- Once you’ve got a nice doughy window pane put your dough baby in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise.
- Allow dough to double in size before taking the next steps. If your dough is not rising to try a warmer place. Maybe use a heating pad and put your bowl under the bed comforter. (This is what we did growing up) Yeast will die if it’s too hot, so keep temperatures around 75-80 degrees.
- Once dough has doubled decided if you want one or two loaves. You can use a scale to perfectly divide your dough or eyeball it.
- Put some flour on the counter and under your waiting dough-ball to avoid sticking.
- Take one dough round and pound it into a flat round disk. Take the side edges of the circle and fold them in to make a sort of pizza-slice shape.
- Taking the short end and begin to roll the dough up away. Roll tightly, but no need to strangle it. When you get to the wide edge use the side of your hands/ pinkies to pull and seal closed your loaf. If you angle your hands downward you can get some cute points on your bread. You could also not do any of this and pound your dough (to get the air out) and shape it into a ball and that can be your loaf shape.
- Do this to the rest of your dough. Place finished loaves on a pan or board coated in semolina flour.
- Cover and allow the bread to rise and double one more time. This is called proofing.
- If you’re not sure if the bread has proofed fully use this trick. Gently poke at the dough with a clean finger. If it bounces back the dough needs more time. If the impression stays then you’re ready to bake!
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. I use stone to bake my bread on. If you have/ want to use one put it in the cold oven and have it heat up slowly. It’s okay if you’re using a regular sheet pan.
- Gently take your proofed loaves and put them on your stones (or leave on the sheet pan). Dust with extra flour using a fine mesh strainer (optional). Use a sharp knife or lame (special bread scoring knife) to score your bread. Often three angled slashes will do the trick. Scoring allows the bread more space to grow as it bakes.
- Close the oven as fast as you can and throw some ice cubes or a bit of water in the oven to produce steam. Steam makes the bread shiny, crunchy and awesome. DO NOT SKIP THIS! Sometimes I steam my bread a few times in the baking process.
- Turn oven down to 425 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and internal temperature is 190 or more.
- Let the bread cool for 10 minutes if you can stand it. This is actually really important too as the bread finishes baking in the cooling process. Plus you get to hear the crackling sound of the crust as it cools.
- Slice and butter generously, and maybe share.