Monday, April 2, 2012

No-Knead Sourdough

This recipe was inspired by my version of Jim Lahey's No-Knead bread recipe, and it is virtually the same in all ways except I substituted the regular yeast for my sourdough starter.

I found this loaf to be moist and shiny inside, with big air pockets and a soft crumb. I can only hope that my future loaves are so successful.

No Knead Sourdough Recipe

Preparation time: about 15 minutes of actual work, 24 hours to make a loaf

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup active sourdough starter (approximate)
1 1/3 cup cool water

  1. Feed sourdough starter approximately 5 hours before mixing the dough. Wait until starter is risen and puffy.
  2. Mix together 3 cups flour, sea salt, starter and cool water. Work ingredients with your hands to form a wet and somewhat sticky dough. Add the remaining flour only if the dough is too wet and sticky to work with; add just enough so that the dough will form a sticky but not unworkable ball. Once the dough has been mixed, place it back in the bowl and cover with a hand towel. I usually do this around 8PM at night. Let the dough sit someplace warmish.
  3. Let the dough rise for around 15-21 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. I usually let it sit until 5PM the following night. The dough will be risen and there will be bubbles at the surface. Scrape the sides of the dough off the bowl and tuck the sides of the dough underneath so it forms a deflated, semi-loose ball.
  4. Let the dough sit in a warm place with a hand towel over the bowl. After an hour and a half, turn on the oven to 475 degrees and place the ceramic dish with lid inside.
  5. When the dough has been sitting for two hours, scrape the sides of the dough off the bowl and tuck the sides of the dough underneath so it forms a deflated, semi-loose ball. Lightly flour the surface of the dough.
  6. Put the dough in the ceramic pot, then bake at 475 for 30 minutes.
  7. Turn down the oven to 400 degrees and remove the lid. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
It should be noted that the loaf I made in the picture was baked at 475 for the entire 40 minute time period because I forgot to turn down the temperature in the oven. The result is a very attractive, chestnut colored crust. In the past I found darker crusts to be difficult to cut, more difficult for my purposes (I use this for my sandwich bread), but I'm having no difficulty with this particular loaf. It is slightly too well done around the edges but in the future I'm not going to turn down the oven quite so much.

If your starter lives in the fridge (mine does), you'll want to take the starter from the fridge a few days before making your loaf. The starter should be room temperature and on a regular daily feeding schedule.

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