Well, I wrote too soon. Turns out the morning after my sourdough post, my starter “woke up”.
I had decided to stop feeding it twice a day, as that had become a bit of a pain with little reward. Having not fed it the night before, I fed it that morning for the first time in about 24 hours. As I puttered around the kitchen, I looked over at the starter jar and… drum roll… it was growing. “Well hello there” I said.
The starter has since been reliably doubling in size between feedings (I’m still only feeding it once per day, and plan to retire it to the refrigerator very soon).
I have made two loaves of bread with this starter and am still perfecting the recipe. Likely due to the ambient temperature of my house, the bread has a long rise time, 5-6 hours. Because of this, the top tends to dry out, even when oiled. This decreases its ability to expand in the oven. But the bread has a lovely flavor. Not too sour. Just very flavorful.
This recipe is based on Michael Ruhlman’s bread ratio of 5 pts flour to 3 pts water (assuming the starter is 50/50 flour to water by weight)
- 50 g starter
- 100 g water
- 200 g all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 scant tsp salt
Mix ingredients with a spoon until dough comes together. Then knead by hand or with a standing mixer and dough hook until dough is smooth and passes a window pane test (a small amount of dough can be stretched out in a disc until you can see light through it without tearing, indicating good gluten formation). This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Dough will be soft and almost sticky.
Shape dough into long baguette loaf. Place on heavily floured board, cover with dish towel (plastic wrap may be better for drying issues – that will be the next experiment) and let rise in a warm place until about double in size.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking, slash top of loaf 3 or 4 times. Slide loaf (first gently releasing it from board if necessary) into oven, preferably onto a preheated pizza stone. Bake until loaf is golden brown and/or internal temperature reaches 200 degrees. Let cool slightly and try not to eat in one sitting!
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2010, where we’re miles away from a bad loaf of bread, and the butter is dripping between our fingers.