I think I found my calling: bread-making! Some of the reasons I love the entire process:
1) There are so many health benefits of making bread the original, old-fashioned way that it has been made for thousands of years and contains no preservatives. For more on this, watch the Episode "Air" of Michael Pollan's Netflix show Cooked.
2) I can eat it! Being very gluten-sensitive due to health issues, I am so shocked that I have been eating this bread for weeks now and am totally free of my usual gluten-produced symptoms.
3) It becomes therapeutic once you learn the basics.
4) It's a challenge to perfect and every loaf comes out differently.
5) It has such a fun learning curve. I've especially learned from the loaves that have been flatter or over-proved! Remember, learning from failing produces growth.
For those of you who have not been raised in a home where you grew up cooking or baking from scratch, welcome to the club. You might have a very real fear of baking or cooking, but this is truly worth learning. What better time to try than now? Let's jump into it!
Note: I do not include making your own starter in this recipe. However, I'll explain a very short version right now to get you started.
Start with 60 grams (1/4 cup) of water and 60 grams (1/2 cup) of flour in a mason jar (combine it with a fork until completely mixed). Cover with a clean towel and let it sit for 24 hours. The next day, remove half of the batter, then add another 60 grams (1/4 cup) of water and 60 grams (1/2 cup) of flour and stir until combine. Do this process again for 4-5 days until your starter looks bubbly and has a slight vinegar smell. I would recommend looking at @piperbackholm 's instagram highlights called "SD starter" or looking up how to make a starter on youtube because that's how I learned. I might post about it in a different post in the future. We'll see.
Kay, onto the full bread recipe. I've been working on this bread recipe for weeks, learning as much as I can from a variety of sources and, of course, with lots of personal trial and error. I am sure I will continue to perfect this overtime and for years to come, but so far this recipe is what has produced the best results for my kitchen.
High Hydration, Long-Fermented Sourdough Bread Recipe
By Lindsay Rusu
50 g starter
375 g filtered water, warmed slightly
500 g organic unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
10 g sea salt
Two bowls, or one bowl and one proving basket
2-4 Clean tea towel or dish towels
Parchment paper that can withstand 450 degrees
Knife or bread Lame (scoring blade)
Directions Feed your Starter: about 3-4 hours before starting your dough, add 60 g (1/4 cup) water and 60 g (1/2 cup) flour to your starter with a clean fork. Cover and let rest for a couple of hours until it’s bubbling and double in size.
Making the Dough: Add 50 g (1/2 cup) starter 375 (1 1/2 cups) grams of warm filtered water to a bowl. Mix to combine using a fork or dough whisk. Add 500 g (around 2 cups) organic unbleached all-purpose flour or 10 grams (1 ¼ tsp) salt to the same bowl. Combine with a fork, dough whisk or your hands until it resembles a shaggy dough. Cover with a clean towel for 1 hour and let rest. Stretch and Fold: Stretch and fold every 30 minutes for a total of 4 times over the next 2-2.5 hours (to see how to do this, watch here). Cover with a clean damp towel. If you dip your hands in a little bit of water before stretching and folding, it keeps the dough moist and from sticking. At this point the dough should firm up a little bit and have a nice gluten structure.
Bulk Rise: Let your dough rest for 8-10 hours in the bowl on the counter or in a warm space. Cover with a clean damp towel.
Pre-shape: Before bed or in the morning after the bulk rise, pre-shape your dough after it’s risen about 30-50% by stretch and folding into a ball. Then in a proving bowl or regular bowl with a flour-covered towel inside, place your dough. Cover with another clean towel and let sit for another 30 minutes. Put in the fridge for a couple of days.
Long-Fermentation Rise in Fridge: For the longer fermentation process to eliminate 97% of gluten, keep your floured bowl or proofing basket in the fridge for 48-72 hours. You will want to cover with a damp towel to avoid dry/crusty dough, and after 24 hours I like to put a plastic bag around it for extra insulation. (Look at the ingredients for what I mean by oven bags). Preheat: After 72 hours (my preference), preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and preheat your Dutch oven inside the oven for 30 minutes before baking your bread.
Last Rise and Scoring: As the oven is preheating, take out your dough from the fridge and place the dough onto parchment paper. Score the top of the dough using a sharp knife or bread Lame with any design (such as an X, a ( or a + ) which will allow for the bread to expand as it goes in the oven.
Bake: When the Dutch oven is pre-heated, place the dough/parchment in the Dutch oven and cover with the Dutch oven lid. Bake for 20 minutes at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, uncover your bread, place a cookie sheet underneath the Dutch oven (to prevent the bottom of the bread from becoming too dark) and reduce temp to 450 uncovered for 15 more minutes. Once your bread is cooked and has a nice desired color on top, remove it from the Dutch oven to sit on jus the parchment paper/counter and let cool for 1 hour before cutting into it. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from recipes by Emilie Raffa, Michael Greenfield, and Carrie Vitt. Buy Emilie Raffa’s book called Artisan Sourdough Made Simple here on Amazon.
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