So 2020 has been challenging. I moved, had brain surgery, and survived the pandemic along with everyone else. We go through rough patches, and then we move on.
One bright spot was my new sourdough starter!
Last week my friend dropped off some bread. It was so good! It was some of the best bread I have eaten. To keep the karma going and hopefully bring some good into your life, I will share it with you now.
Swenson's No-knead Sourdough Bread Recipe
This is an easy no-knead sourdough bread recipe. You do fold the bread, but it is a simple technique. It makes a beautiful, fluffy, smooth, and perfect texture. It is my favorite "classic" sourdough bread recipe. This year my friend brought me a loaf, and I couldn't believe how good it was. So I drove down to her house, and she gave me the recipe and a start. Best Christmas present ever!
I use it for sandwiches or French toast. But really, my favorite thing is to it toast it and melt butter on it with a fresh jam. My roommate didn't want to toast it because it was so good plain, so she ate just sliced.
Making Leaven - Bringing starter to full strength
The night before you want to make bread, you need to bring your starter up to full strength.
Some people call this make a leaven.
Take your starter out of refrigerator.
Measure out 50g of starter,100g of filtered water, and 100g of flour. Stir together and let it sit on the counter overnight. When you wake up in the morning it should be foamy.
When it is bubbling it is called leaven. It makes enough for two loaves. Or use half to make a loaf and but the other back in the fridge as it has been fed and will be good for another week.
Directions to make Sourdough Bread
Mix the 100g of leaven with 350 grams of filtered water. The best tool is a danish dough hook but you can use a wooden spoon.
Add the flour and salt. Mix well. It will be shaggy.
Cover the bowl and let it sit for 30-45 minutes.
Fold and Rise
After the first rise, start the folding process. Get a bowl of clean water. Dampen hand, grab the dough in the bowl and fold it in half.
Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat that process three more times, folding the dough a total of four times.
Cover bowl. Let dough rise 45 minutes depending on temperature of the room. Colder days it will take longer, warmer days it will need a shorter rise.
Repeat this folding process 4-5 times throughout the day.
Stretch and Proof
Flour the surface of your counter or a thin silicone mat. The mat makes clean up easier. Turn your dough out onto it.
Lift the dough by the end, let it hang and stretch out.
Next, place elongated dough back on the counter do a lose braid with the dough in onto itself to push out any big air bubbles.
Roll up into ball, tucking ends underneath. Making a nice round loaf shape.
Let sit on the counter for another 30 minutes.
Final Rise, Shape and Bake
Once that rest is done, put a tea towel that is heavily coated in flour in a bowl.
Put dough in ball, shaped into a ball seam side up. Cover it and let it sit in the bowl overnight. * if it is a warm day and you started early in the morning you can do this in one day. This rise creates a nice crust on top.
In the morning, preheat your oven to 450.
Put your dutch-oven in the oven so it heats with the oven. While it’s heating, spread some parchment paper onto your counter and spray with a light coating of oil.
Pour the dough out of the bowl onto the parchment paper with the seam side down on the parchment. Using a very sharp knife make some decorative slits in the top of the dough. * Don't skip the scoring of the dough. It helps steam escape and makes the final product look beautiful!!
Once the oven and dutch oven are preheated, take the dutch oven out of the oven. Lift the dough using the parchment paper and set it (with the paper) into the pan.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
Let it cool completely as it continues to cook and needs time before you slice it.
Slice with a sharp bread knife.
Sourdough is best left to rise in a warm, humid, draft free constant temperature. Covering it keeps in the moisure and heat as well as protects it from dust, bugs or other contaminates. A temperature range of 75F – 83F (25C – 29C), is ideal. If you want a really sour flavor, altering the temperatures and type of starter will create a more sour bread. Temperatures above 82F (28C) with a longer rise tend to develop the sour flavor.