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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:

Sourdough finale:
-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!
Happy baking!

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Susan said...

That's some beautiful sourdough!

I found the 10-gallon bags you mentioned in your previous post at Safeway -- and they do rock.

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thank you, Susan! I'm so happy with how it turned out :D.

Glad you could find those bags, they are awesome. I wasn't sure where G had gotten them from, now I know to look at our Safeway, thanks!

Delphine said...

Oh! Wonderful!

Anyway, there is nothing like surdough bread!
Mine is made with raisins, and it's the best I've ever made!

bakinghistory said...

What a wonderful result, your bread looks perfect!
I followed Dudley's progress from the start as you posted about it.


DaviMack said...

Wow, your bread looks awesome! Lovely open crumb!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I really need to learn how to make sourdough bread!
It looks wonderful, Jen!

Baking Soda said...

Gorgeous, just gorgeous loaves Jen, and I agree, I love my breads with a tan!

Elle said...

Those loaves look perfect! I bet the tase and aroma are out of this world. Well done!

Jen the Bread Freak said...

First of all, sorry to everyone for being so slow to respond to comments. We had a bit of a trying week here at home that left us both exhausted and in need of nothing but rest. Things are returning to normal now.

Delphine: Thank you very much. I think I'll have to try out a form of this with raisins! I'll look to your site for the recipe. Sounds good! There really is nothing like a sourdough bread :D.

Baking History: Dudley and I thank you for your interest in his story! He's recovering from a bit of neglect this week, but still is looking lively, thank goodness :).

Davimack: Thank you so much! I was very happy with the crumb the first time, and the second loaves I got from dudley were very nice as well. I hope to post more variations in the future :D.

Patricia: Thank you so much for the compliment :D. You should give it a try at least once. I think it just takes a bit of time. I was lucky that my starter got so lively as quickly as it did. :)

Baking Soda: Thank you. I tend to think the nicely tanned bread has a bit more flavor :). Glad to know you like yours a bit more browned!

Elle: Thank you very much! The aroma while they bake is just one of my favorite things (but then who can resist the smell of baking bread?). The taste is wonderful as well. :D

Sidetoide said...

Nothing like a home-made loaf of bread

soundman said...

Hi Jen,
Wow that is beautiful bread. I know this post was a while back, so maybe your little friend Dudley is providing even more tang?
Those bags are spectacular. I looked all over the web and nowhere do I find 10-gallon plastic bags. I have plastic-envy.
Thanks so much for helping me and other bakers!
Soundman (David)

Anonymous said...

I thought I would mention that these bags are available for purchase on

Anonymous said...

My hubby brought me the 10 Gallon XL and 20 Gallon XXL bags from Albertsons, not found at Safeway, here.