Saturday, June 04, 2011

101 Sourdough

Although it might look like this is going to be a tutorial (especially to the hardy souls who attend or attended college) the actual reason for the 101 is the weight of the flour.

Before we get into weighing flour, I'm happy to announce the winners of the My Southern Food book by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The first out of the hat was Richelle, who doesn't seem to have a blog but did send her e-mail address along. The second drawn was Kelly-Jane of Cooking the Books with Kelly-Jane. She has a great blog and it will be fun to see if she posts anything from the book. The last name drawn was Lynnette of Desserts Divine, a new blog for me to visit and a nice one. Congratulations to each of you. An e-mail has been sent to you asking for a mailing address. The publisher mails the books directly to you.

Back to baking! One of the things that can happen if you bake a lot of similar breads is that you get familiar with the ratios for a good loaf. This time I wanted to use my sourdough starter, three kinds of flour and some water and salt.

For one loaf (shown above) I also went seedy by using some recently received King Arthur Flour's Harvest Grains Blend. Whole oat berries, millet, rye flakes and wheat flakes enhance texture. Flax, poppy, sesame, and sunflower seeds add crunch and great, nutty flavor. I used 6 tablespoons of the mixture for one loaf and it adds just the right amount of textural and seedy interest. The point of mentioning this isn't to hawk King Arthur's blend, but to suggest that when you are making two loaves that you don't have to make them the same. Have some fun! Work in some chopped nuts or just one kind of seed like sesame or sunflower if you don't have a blend...or create your own blend. One of the reasons that making bread continues to appeal to me is that I see it as a creative vehicle and a way to add joy to my life...and the bread is great to eat, too.

Back to the flours: I weighed out the remainder in a bag of bread flour and it came to 101 grams. I decided to build my flour mixture from that measurement, so I did two additional 101s of bread flour, 101 grams of whole wheat flour twice and 101 grams of King Arthur Flour's Ancient Grains blend for a bit more complexity of flavor. As it turned out I ended up needing a bit more bread flour at the end, so the weights didn't work out quite so neatly, but the proportions are still good ones for flavor. The same flour can need variations depending on the weather. I would have thought that our rainy weather would mean less flour but it seems that it meant more added. Of course it could be that my starter was wetter than I thought it was. There are lots of variable in making the dough, so relax and go with what yours wants you to do. You are looking for a supple, soft dough that has body but isn't stiff.

This made a tight grained, slightly chewy bread with good wheat flavor plus that small bit of complex 'I wonder what else is in this bread' taste that was so delicious. I shaped the 'plain' loaf into a long thin loaf, slightly curved to fit in the pan, and made the seedy loaf into a torpedo shape.

For those of you who wonder how I can keep making bread so often and not be as big as a house...I am not as big as a house, but I am overweight and...ta da!...I'm now doing slow weight lifting to help burn some of the calories and to be heart happy. I also eat a lot of soups and salads which I love as much as bread.

This recipe is going over to Susan at Wild Yeast. Her weekly Yeastspotting event is a wonderland of bread ideas for those of us addicted to bread baking. Check it out HERE.

101 Sourdough

582 grams sourdough starter
300 grams water, lukewarm
353 grams bread flour
202 grams whole wheat flour
101 grams ancient grain blend
15 grams sea salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer place the sourdough starter and the water; whisk to blend.

in another large bowl whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, ancient grain blend (or additional bread or whole wheat instead, if you prefer), and the salt.

Whisk 1 cup of the flour mixture into the sourdough mixture, then attach the bowl to the mixer. With the dough hook attached and the mixer on low to medium-low, add the about 1 cup of the flour at a time, letting at least half of it incorporate into the dough before adding the next 1 cup. For the last cup of flour, add the flour mixture by tablespoonfuls, one at a time, until the dough is soft and climbs the dough hook and doesn't completely slump into the bottom of the bowl when you stop adding flour. You may need to add an additional small amount of flour if the dough is very soft. Let the mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes.

Turn the dough out into an oiled rising container or bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or a clean shower cap and let rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to remove gas bubbles. Cut dough in half and return one piece of dough to the rising container or bowl. Flatten the remaining piece of dough on the lightly floured surface into a rough rectangle, then shape and either put into a bread pan or let rise on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Take the second piece of dough and repeat the process you used for the first piece of dough, or you can do as I did and knead in 1/2 cup mixed seeds and grain flakes (I used King Arthur's grain blend), then shape and let rise as with the first loaf.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If suing a baking stone, let it preheat at the same time in the oven. Slash the loaves when the oven is hot. Paint with egg wash if desired (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water). Bake in the center of the oven (on a baking stone if possible) for 45 minutes to an hour, or until loaf sounds hollow when the back is tapped. Let cool before serving.

Makes 2 loaves.

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