Monday, April 23, 2012

Sourdough French Bread

I love working with sourdough!  Just a few ingredients to get your "starter" going, and a little patience, but once you have it, all you need to do is keep feeding it.  Super simple to keep in  your refrigerator.  When you get tired of it, just discard it, or just freeze it to save it until you want to use it again.


Sourdough Starter
• 3 tbls. instant mashed potato flakes
• 3 tbls. white sugar
• 1 cup warm water
• 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

Sourdough French Bread
• 6 cups All-purpose flour, more if needed
• 4 1/2 tsp Yeast
• 1 tbls. Sugar
• 1 tbls. Salt
• 1 cup Water, very hot (120F)
• 2 cups Sourdough starter, room temperature
• 1 tbls. Oil
• Yellow cornmeal
• 1 Egg white


Sourdough Starter:
1. Combine instant potatoes, sugar, water, and yeast in a covered container. Let the starter sit on a counter for 5 days, stirring daily with a wooden spoon.
2. On the morning of the fifth day, feed the starter with 3 tablespoons instant potatoes, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup warm water. In the evening, take out 1 cup of the starter to use in a sourdough recipe. Refrigerate the remaining starter.
3. Every five days, feed the starter 3 tablespoons instant potatoes, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup water. If starter is to be used in a recipe, let the fed starter rest at room temperature 6 hours before use. If starter is not being used in a recipe, keep refrigerated and discard 1 cup of starter after each feeding.

Sourdough French Bread
1. Feed your starter at least 12 hrs before making bread.
2. Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add in water, oil and starter and beat 3 min with an electric mixer.
3. Work in additional flour by hand till dough can be handled. Amount will vary, depending on consistency of starter used. Decant dough to a lightly floured board and knead till smooth, satiny and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in additional flour in small amounts as needed to keep dough from sticking to board or possibly hands.
4. Place in a large, oiled bowl, turning once to coat dough ball; cooking spray works well for this. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a hot place till doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs.
5. Punch dough down and divide into either 2 or possibly 4 pieces, depending on size of loaves desired. Cover and let rest 10 min.
6. Roll each piece out into a rectangle and roll up from long side, pinching seam closed and tapering ends. Place loaves, seam side down, either in baguette pans or possibly on a baking sheet that has been oiled and sprinkled with cornmeal. Gash top 1/4 inch deep either along the length or possibly diagonally every 2 or possibly 3 inches. Beat egg white with 1 tbsp water till frothy and brush loaves with it. Cover and let rise in hot place till doubled, about 1 hour.
7. Bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes, then brush again with egg white and bake an additional 20 min.
8. Remove from pans and cold on wire racks.