Friday, February 12, 2010

The House Around the Corner - Jamie's Bread

Jamie's Sourdough Bread

My recipe is pretty darn basic, it can easily be modified to suit anyone’s tastes. A few things you should know beforehand, sourdough starters come in all sorts of different consistencies and aromas, ranging in color from a creamy white to deep yellow. Mine is a wild yeast starter that I’ve had for quite awhile now. It works great but I prefer a slow rise to my bread, for someone who doesn’t have the time to take a couple days to make bread you would probably want to use a starter that began with commercial yeast.

Here’s what you need:
  • Five to six cups of flour, any combination as long as there is two cups of white flour in the equation. For this batch I used white, oat and rye.
  • One to two tbs salt, depends upon your preferences.
  • Two to three tbs of oil, I use lard, it is just my preference, use whatever you prefer.
  • One cup starter or for regular bread you would want to dissolve 1 tbs commercial yeast in ¼ cup warm water.
  • Two cups plain kefir. After you pour the kefir in the bowl fill the same cup with cold water, you’ll probably need it.
If you have a stand mixer, put everything in the bowl and using the dough hook and lowest speed, mix it up. As the dough starts to come together you may have to add a little of the cold water. You don’t want it too wet but you don’t want it crumbly either, just watch the bowl and when the dough starts clinging to the hook and the sides of the bowl are clean, no signs of flour or liquid, turn it off and grease a large bowl. You can use whatever you’d like, I use either butter or lard. Plop the dough in the bowl and flip it at least once, you want to coat the ball of dough, cover it with a dishtowel and walk away.

If you are making this bread by hand you want to put all the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix them all together. Make a well in the center and add all the wet ingredients (except the two cups of water). Start mixing, you can use your hands, a spoon, a rice paddle, whatever it takes to get the job done. Add the cold water as necessary to get the dough to hold together without it being too wet. Once it gets to the right consistency, or when you get sick and tired of mixing, whichever comes first, follow the same directions as above, plop that dough into a greased bowl, cover it and walk away.
Here it is, all ready to be tucked away in the corner to rise.

Now, if you used a commercial yeast or if you have a “fast” starter it will only take a couple hours for the dough to double in size, if you’re like me and you have a slow starter it’s going to be somewhere between 12 to 18 hours for the first rise, the batch in the photo took 18 hours. I can see the looks on your faces now, SHE CAN’T BE SERIOUS, 18 HOURS? Yep, I’m serious, when I say a couple days to make bread, I’m not kidding. Think of it as culturing the dough.

 Once the dough is through the first rise and is double in size you want to punch it down, pull it all together into a ball an plop it out onto a floured surface. Now you start kneading (push, pull, quarter turn) keep at it until you have this wonderful mass of silky, soft dough. Cover it with a dishtowel and take a break, give the dough 15 to 20 minutes to rest.
Once the dough has rested, divide it and shape it, you can use bread pans, or make long loaves, round loaves, individual rolls, whatever you prefer, it’s your bread. Cover the shaped dough with a dishtowel and once again, walk away.
Again, if you have a fast starter, it will only take a couple hours at the most for the second rise, for this batch of bread the second rise took seven hours.

Here it is, seven hours later, ready to go in the oven.

You want to bake the loaves at approximately 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. I say approximately because my stove is ancient and most of the numbers are worn off the dial, but I’m almost positive it’s set at 350 degrees.

Fresh out of the oven! 

This recipe passed the husband taste test, it has a wonderful texture and just a little hint of tanginess from the kefir.

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