||*BEFORE YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE |
If your sourdough starter is at *room temperature*, feed it 8-12 hours before you plan to make the recipe. Make sure you still have starter left for future use after removing the 3 cups the recipe calls for.
If your sourdough starter is *in the fridge*, take it out and feed it, then let it come to room temp which takes about an hour or so, before proceeding.
||Combine your sourdough starter, water, and salt. |
||Add about 4 cups of flour, then turn your mixer on (I used speed 1 on my Bosch) and continue to add flour in 1/4 c. increments until the dough starts to 'clean' the sides of the bowl. Knead it with the mixer for 5-6 min. |
If I could impart any bread-making wisdom it would be: do NOT add too much flour! It takes time for the flour to soak up all the liquids, and when you let it set out for several hours (coming up later in the directions), it will become a bit stiffer. However, if you add so much flour right away that it looks like the 'knead-by-hand' bread dough we're all familiar with, it will become too dry and your finished loaf of bread will taste like sawdust.
One way to tell if you've added enough flour is to take your finger and touch the dough. (Please turn the mixer off first. :)) You should notice that the dough sort of makes a sound as if you'd stuck your finger to the sticky side of a piece of tape and pulled if off again. You don't want it to stick to you, but it should act like it wants to. Does that make sense?
||Knead the dough in the mixer for 4-5 minutes. Stop and check to see if the dough has good elasticity. What you're looking for is the ability to pinch a small chunk of it and stretch it upward. If it is somewhat smooth and stretches a good bit, you're good. But if it breaks off right away, you'll want to knead for another minute or so. |
Alternately, you can knead by hand for about 8-12 minutes. If you do this I suggest putting oil instead of flour on your counter top as well as oiling your hands. A common mistake is adding too much flour to prevent your hands from sticking and you end up getting the dough too dry.
||Place your dough in a large, well-oiled bowl. Flip it over and rotate it so that it's completely coated. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it set in the refrigerator (or a cool room about 55 degrees or cooler) for twelve hours or overnight. OR you may leave your dough at room temperature for 5-6 hours. |
||After the dough has doubled in volume, oil your hands and counter top again. Cut dough into two equal portions. |
||Shape each portion into loaves (rolls, pizza, or whatever you want) and place them in oiled bread pans. Cover with damp towels again and let rise in a warm place until doubled. This takes about 1 1/2 – 3 hours, which of course means more souring time! |
||Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake in pre-heated oven for 45-60 minutes; until the tops are nicely browned and the loaves sound a bit hollow if you tap on them. Take the loaves out of the pans and cool on a wire rack. |
||Optional: brush tops with butter or water immediately after removing from the oven for a softer crust. (Butter is better, butter is better. . .) |