Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sourdough French Bread

My sourdough pot

Bread-making is no easy task. You have to start early, knead until your arms ache, and plan your day around letting the darn thing rise four different times. Ugh--who has time for it anymore? Just kidding, I don't mean that. It's good practice to make a loaf from scratch from time to time. And I've been following directions for 26 long years now, so I could manage the tedious steps for Sourdough French Bread outlined in the Fiddlehead.

Start the night before by taking your Sourdough Starter out of the fridge. Set a 1/4 cup in another bowl with one cup each of flour and water to be used for your bread. Replenish the starter part with the same addition.

The next morning, put your starter back in the fridge (the Fiddlehead offers some great advice on how to feed, store, and maintain your sourdough properly).

Bloom some yeast in warm water with honey, then add flour and knead for ten minutes.

Let rise in a draft-free, warm location (a great location is in the microwave above the stove with that overhanging light on, if that's how your kitchen is set up).

Once it's risen, punch it down and let it rise again.

Next, roll it out into a 12" x 8" x 1" sheet and roll up from the narrow end, pinching the seams underneath. Let that rise.

Finally brush with egg yolk and water, sprinkle with sesame seeds, score the top, and bake in a hot oven for 20-30 mins.

It turned out alright. Better than any sourdough bread I've attempted before. My primary criticism is that I got a little too crazy with my scoring, so it sort of unhinged from the center. Next time I'll try shorter score lines. Overall, a successful loaf: the taste was sour, the texture fluffy, and my belly happy.

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