December 18, 2011

Country Sourdough Bread

I'll be honest. I'm not completely sure I had the bread labeled correctly in the freezer, but I believe I did. If the label was correct, this bread is awesome.

The reason I'm a bit uncertain is that much of the bread I bake goes right into the freezer as we can't eat as fast as I bake. In the interest of saving money and the environment, I reuse our freezer bags. Occasionally, that means I can't positively identify a bread when it's pulled from the freezer.

Still, for as good as the bread was, it's worth taking the risk to make it. Slightly crunchy crust with great texture and rich flavor.

Country Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Starter
1 cup warm water, between 105ºF and 115ºF
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp. active dry yeast

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Cover tightly, and let stand 24 to 36 hours, until the starter is bubbly and has a sweet-sour aroma. Cover and refrigerate for storage or use immediately. Replenish after each use with a mixture of half water and half flour. Let stand at room temperature 1 to 2 hours, until bubbly. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

Country Sourdough Bread
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. yeast
2/3 cups sourdough starter
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tsp. salt
1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. gluten
2 cups bread flour

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and room temperature sourdough starter. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, rye flour and wheat flour. Beat well. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Add gluten and bread flour. Knead the dough until soft and springy but soft to the touch. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Turn dough onto lightly greased or floured surface, and punch dough down. Shape dough into a round loaf. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slash bread with a sharp knife, and brush with water. Bake 45 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

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