Basic Sourdough Bread
To make this bread you will need to follow the directions in the post below for creating a sourdough culture and then a sourdough barm. I got this recipe from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice book. There is a link in the post below if you are interested in purchasing the book.
Makes two 1 1/2 pound loaves.
1) Remove the barm from the refrigerator and measure out 2/3 cup of it into a mixing bowl. Make sure the barm has been refreshed in the last three days. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it warm up for 1 hour.
2) Add 1 cup (4.5 ounces) bread flour to the barm and just enough water (1/8th to 1/4 cup) to make a small ball about the consistency of bread dough. You don't have to mix it very long, just enough to have all the ingredients combined.
3) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temp for about 4 hours until the starter has doubled in size. Put it in the refrigerator overnight.
4) Remove the dough from step 3 from the fridge and cut into 10 small pieces. Put them in a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them warm up for 1 hour.
5) Make the final dough by combining 4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) of bread flour, 2 t salt, and 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups warm water. Mix the dough with the dough hook for 4 minutes on medium-low speed. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then mix again for 4 more minutes. Adjust the water or flour as needed. The dough should be firm but tacky. Transfer the dough to a bowl that has been sprayed with spray oil. Roll the dough around to lightly coat all surfaces.
6) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough ferment at room temperature for 3 or 4 hours until it has doubled in size.
7) Shape the dough either into round loaves or into baguettes. If you are making round loaves, you can proof them on parchment lined baking pans that have been lightly dusted with corn meal. If you are making baguettes, you can proof them in a couche. Either way, spray the top of the loaf with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let them proof (ferment) at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
8) An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the baking stone on the bottom rack. On a rack above, put a pan that you will dump water into to create steam.
9) Transfer the dough to a peel dusted with semolina flour or cornmeal. Score the dough and slide onto the baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot water into the steam pan and close the door. After 30 seconds spray the walls with water and close the door. Repeat twice more at 30 second intervals. After the final spray lower the temperature for 450 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. After the 10 minute bake rotate the loaves 180 degrees. Continue baking another 10 to 20 minutes until loaves are golden brown and done. If you measure the temperature of the loaf it should be 205.
10) Let the loaves cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes before slicing.
It was because of this loaf that I discovered the bottom burner of my oven is burnt out! We're getting a new oven soon.
The bread made a great sandwich!