Saturday, August 11, 2007
Sourdough Bread At Last
So this is the last day of the sourdough bread saga (for now, until I do some other flavors and such). I took the little loaves out of the refrigerator at 10:30am. It is now 2:40pm and the loaves just went into the oven at 500f with some "steam"(I have a really old pan that I sit in the bottom of my oven-it's electric-and let it heat with the oven and the baking stone, when the bread has gone in I dump some already boiling water into the hot pan in the bottom of the oven and then shut the door quickly. I check after 10 minutes and then remove the pan if necessary and turn the oven down at this point). Here's exactly what I did:
-Pull your loaves out of the refrigerator 4 hours before you are going to bake them. Leave them bagged or wrapped in plastic wrap and let them just sit out. If it's very hot where you are this may take a bit less than 4 hours.
-About half hour before you want to bake your loaves, heat your oven with the baking stone (if you have one, if not, turn your loaves out onto a sheet pan sprinkled with cornmeal or polenta) to 500f, or as hot as it will go. If you are going to use a pan for steam, heat this in the oven at this time as well. Get some water simmering.
-Once everything is in place, gently turn your loaves out of their baskets (if you free-formed them, you can bake them right on that sheet pan) onto a peel or other surface coated with coarse ground cornmeal or polenta (this aids in sliding the bread off the surface and onto the baking stone). Slash your loaves however you like (I just did one long slash diagonally down the center), slide them into the oven, pour your hot water into your pan and shut the door to allow the oven to steam up (do this all with caution, if this scares you or you think your oven won't like it, then just maybe use a spray bottle to get a bit of steam going). Leave the door shut for 10 minutes. Turn your oven down to 425f and check the loaves again in 15 minutes, they may need to be rotated. I keep the loaves baking for a total of 45 minutes, with rotating and checking on them about every 15 minutes. When they are a lovely deep brown (I like my breads a deep golden) and they feel light for their size, remove them from the oven and cool to room temperature.I was very pleased with the crust and the crumb of this bread. The crust was chewy and crunchy and the crumb opened up nicely with irregular holes. The flavor of this was actually very light. There are only very faint sour undertones to the bread and it is delicious. I am sure with a little more time Dudley will develop a bit more flavor as he is fed and ages. Yum!