I have a long, unhappy history with sourdough bread. I love the stuff, but it’s always seemed difficult to make. The first time I tried, my sourdough starter was questionable, and the bread turned out rock hard. I tried it again, and I honestly don’t remember what happened other than that it wasn’t a success. Every time I failed, I decided to take a break from the mission for a while, until one day I would get it in my mind again that it was time to try making sourdough. A few months ago, sourdough was back in the forefront of my brain, and as coincidence would have it, a post about the basics of sourdough bread landed in my inbox. There was nothing left to do but gear myself up and jump back on the sourdough train.
So… I made my sourdough starter, which seemed to be looking pretty good, and once it was ready, I made this bread. The verdict? Delicious bread, which doesn’t really taste like sourdough, but is still totally worth making. I’m calling it Artisan Bread because that’s really what it seems like to me. You have the crispy exterior and the fluffy, chewy interior, and if you really want to get indulgent, you can have it warm with some butter melting on top for an absolutely decadent experience. Perhaps with an starter that has aged longer (or a different starter), the bread would be more sour. All I know is that I have made this bread multiple times, and I still recommend it! It’s one of those breads that seems really gourmet but actually takes little work.
P.S. This bread has a long rising time (8-12 hours), so I suggest starting it in the evening and letting it rise overnight. You can find the recipe for the sourdough starter I used here.
|Artisan Bread with a Sourdough Starter|
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 5 1/2 – 6 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon bread flour + 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the water, yeast, honey, and sourdough smarter until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour. At this point, the mixture should have formed bubbles at the top and risen slightly.
- Add 3 cups of bread flour, butter, eggs, and salt to the mixture, beating at low speed with the flat beater attachment. Once these ingredients are somewhat incorporated, increase to medium-low speed and beat for about 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth. Add 2 more cups of bread flour and beat for another two minutes.
- Using the dough hook at low speed, add the remaining 1/2 cup – 1 cup flour to the dough, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough appears soft and forms a ball around the hook. Knead with the dough hook for about 6 minutes, keeping an eye on the dough and adding more flour as necessary. By the time you are done kneading, you should be able to remove the dough from the bowl without it sticking.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Combine 1 tablespoon bread flour and 1 tablespoon cornmeal and sprinkle over the lined sheet.
- Split the risen dough in half and shape each half into an oval with a smooth top. Place loaves on the baking sheet, well apart (I can never seem to get them quite far enough apart so I always end up with two slightly fused loaves!) Sprinkle a bit more flour on top of the loaves and rub in. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the refridgerator to rise for about 8-12 hours (I always do it overnight).
- When you’re ready to bake the loaves, preheat the oven to 450F with a baking stone or overturned baking sheet placed on the lowest rack. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to slash the tops of the loaves (you can do horizontal slashes or criss-crossing slashes, whatever you feel like).
- Place the baking sheet in the oven on top of the baking stone or overturned baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 400 F and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until golden-brown on top. Allow to cool slightly before slicing/serving.
Recipe Source: Annie’s Eats
This recipe uses: