As a child, I remember my mom "feeding" some white goop that was "alive" in a mason jar in the fridge. I'm fairly certain I was pretty grossed out by it (but sure loved the bread!). Icky childhood memories of something alive in the fridge aside, I decided that I wanted to try making breads with a sourdough starter. I began looking at recipes for making my own starter. Unfortunately, I'm impatient. Fortunately, King Arthur Flour sells a lovely starter.
It arrived this week, and I spent the first day following the provided feeding instructions very carefully. I made my first loaf today, and it did not disappoint. I don't love super-sour sourdough - this has just enough tang to be more interesting than a regular french loaf. We all loved it.
The recipe made way more than we can eat before it gets stale, so I'll probably make some sort of croutons from the second loaf.
Rustic Sourdough Bread
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 cup (8 1/2 ounces) "fed" sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) lukewarm water
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
5 cups (21 1/4 ounces) unbleached flour
Combine all of the ingredients, kneaing to form a smooth, soft dough, adding a bit of additional flour if needed. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a bread machine and run on the dough cycle.
Turn dough out onto greased surface, and divide in half. Shape into two oval loaves. Place on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 60 minutes.
Slash the tops, and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack before slicing (good luck with that).