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Recipe of the Month: Homemade Sourdough Bread

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So, here we are, a couple of weeks into corona virus Stay-Safe-At-Home reality. While the news can seem awfully dire, I’m finding it helpful to try and keep fear at bay by leaning into gratitude.

I’m thankful that my family and I can shelter in place together. That Brad wasn’t thousands of miles away when this happened. And while many of us may be working harder than ever to try and keep our jobs and businesses going, we’ve also been forced to slow down. Waaaay down.

We’re on pause. The Earth is taking a desperately needed breath. And apparently, if what I see on social media is indicative, we’re turning to old-fashioned pursuits – such as baking – for comfort.

Brad has been making sourdough bread for about a year now.  He’s really good at it, having honed his technique with a weekly loaf. Now that we’re home all the time, he’s making it a lot more often. And you know what? It’s damn good.

If any of you have the inclination, here’s how to make your own!

I’m assuming you don’t have a starter of your own. We started with one from Grist and Toll, a local mill in Pasadena. You can order one for yourself, or you can make your own.

Ingredients:

Sourdough starter

Flour

Water

Salt

 

Its alive! This is our super healthy starter.

Step 1: Feed your starter.

Take 150g of your starter and put it in a large bowl. Add 120g warm water and 200 g flour. Mix until the flour is incorporated. Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

The dough should look like this – nice and bubbly!

Step 2: Mix the Dough.

Take 100g of the fed starter, putting the rest in a jar to store in the fridge for next time. Add 500g flour and 425 – 450g warm water and mix until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should look and feel like bread dough – not too wet, not too dry. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.

 

 

Step 3: Add salt.

Add 12g salt and mix until incorporated. Cover tightly with your plastic wrap and let it bulk ferment for 2 1/2 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Stretch and Fold.

During these 2 1/2 hours, you will “stretch and fold” the dough with your hands three times – at 30 mins, 1 hour, and 1 1/2 hours. “Stretch and fold” means to stretch the dough into a long tube, then fold it over on itself and repeat a few times. Let rest for the final hour without disturbing it.

 

 

 

 

Step 5: Shape and Proof.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a boule, or rounded loaf, then place in a smaller bowl, one that will help retain the shape of your loaf. Dust the top with flour and wrap the entire bowl in a towel or place in a zip lock bag, and put it in the refrigerator. Let it rest here – this is called the “cold proof” – for 12-16 hours. We let ours go overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6: Bake.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot – with the lid – in the oven. Heat it for 45 minutes. When your timer goes off, remove the pot (carefully!) and place your cold-proofed dough inside. Cover and place back in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, lower the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the crust is walnut colored and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

 

 

 

 

Step 7: Slice and enjoy!

There is nothing quite so delicious in this world as freshly baked, hot buttered bread. Nothing. So have a slice. Have two. Who’s counting anyhow? We don’t even know what day it is…maybe Monday? Tuesday? Maybe…Thunday? Did you even get out of your pajamas today? While the world may be constantly shifting, homemade bread is one thing you can count on being delicious. Every. Single. Time.

 

 

P.S. The fermentation process that gives the bread its distinctive sour taste also makes it more gut-friendly, which is why while I typically avoid gluten, I am able to enjoy sourdough without “distress.” If you want to know more about that, read this.

 

P.P.S. Brad has adjusted this base recipe based on his preferences. If you want to know how he does it, message him on FB. Or, just call him. He’s home!

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