Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sour and Chewy - Delicious Overnight Sourdough Bread

In recent weeks I have been experimenting with sourdough, but without the fuss of 'the care and feeding' of a starter. True, the sourdough starters yield exceptional loaves, but really, who has the patience. Especially in the summer when I just want to bake bread and quickly! So, a while ago I developed a method (or maybe I read about it, I can't remember) for making fast, overnight sourdough. Now I am experimenting with different combinations to see how it tastes. I mean, how bad can it be. Anyway, here is my latest offering. It tastes almost like a real honest to goodness sourdough,, but without the fuss. Also, because it has the tanginess of the starter, along with rye flour it makes an exceptional loaf for sandwiches. Especially pastrami with a good sharp mustard. Yum!

Here's What You'll Need:
for the starter

1 cup rye flour
1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp. dry yeast

1. Mix together all the ingredients to form a rather wet paste. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature, preferably overnight.

the next day...

for the bread dough

1 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
about 1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
about 1 Tbs. sesame seeds (optional)
enough water to make a soft, but firm dough

2. Mix the remaining ingredients into the starter, kneading to form a soft, firm dough. If necessary add water, 1 Tbs. at a time as needed. Knead in the nuts and sesame if using. Knead for about 5 minutes then form into a ball, turn to coat in a lightly-oiled bowl, then cover to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

3. Remove the dough from the bowl, form into a tight ball, by stretching the dough from the top to the bottom and place on a baking sheet , covered with baking paper, with the stretched dough down. Cover with a kitchen towel for a second rise, about 45 minutes. If you have tightened it correctly, it will not spread much.

4. About 20 minutes before baking time, heat the oven to 400F (200C). Slash the bread to make the oven spring more effective without tearing the bread, using a sharp serrated knife (or a razor blade).

5. Just before placing in the oven spray the bread with water lightly. You should also spray into the hot oven several times to introduce hot steam into the oven.

6. Bake for 35 minutes or until a deep brown crust has formed and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If you have a baking stone, you can place the baking sheet directly on it, and place the bread on the stone for the last five minutes. Also, you can turn the oven off at the end and leave the bread on the stone for an additional 5 minutes or so, to make an even 'crustier' crust.

7. Cool on a rack.

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