Monday, May 21, 2012

Guest Post from Becca: Sourdelicious Bread

**Becca and I swapped blogs for the day.  I posted about DIY Microwave Popcorn over on Peace, Love & Bagels. Please welcome Becca, she's sharing her Sourdough Bread recipe!**

Hi everybody! I’m Becca from Peace, Love & Bagels. Sarah and I are participating in the Ohio
Blogging Association’s All-State Blog Swap, so she’s taking over for me today at PL&B and I
have been blessed with the opportunity to write a guest post for her! If you want to check out the
rest of the blog swapping that’s going down - check out Poise in Parma for a complete list.

If you haven’t ventured into making your own bread yet, I highly suggest you give it a try. The
perfect loaf can be elusive. Trust me on this, I’ve tried about everything under the sun.

I’ve tried kneading til the cows come home.

I bought a bread maker.

I used the Tassajara Bread Book, following each step to a T.

Little did I know that the best, most airy, most versatile loaf was probably the easiest bread I
could make. And now I need to get rid of my bread maker (any takers? personally I don’t like the
shape of the loaves)

The secret to great bread is the no-knead, leave-it-overnight loaf. Also known as, throwing 4
ingredients into a bowl, mixing for a minute, covering with plastic wrap and then leaving it
overnight to fluff up. I promise you, perfect bread. Every. Time.

That brings me to my attempt at making sourdough. I thought I’d follow a recipe that involved
kneading - since my pops got me a Kitchen-Aid Mixer as a wedding gift and I could make that
do most of the work for me. You know what? Even with sourdough, I had to come back to my
tried and true no-knead recipe. With a few little tweaks, I was surprised at how perfect and
delicious the bread turned out!

Even better than that, it takes a total of ten minutes of your time. Here’s the method...

Sourdough Bread

1. Mix 1 Tbsp dry yeast, 2.5 cups warm water, 2 tsp sugar, and 2.5 cups of flour in a
container. Let it ferment, covered in a warm place for about 5 days. Stir daily. You’ll
know when it starts to really get sour - it smells! The starter can be kept indefinitely in
a sealed container in the fridge, although most people suggest using it within a week, I
believe in the time-freezing qualities of 34 degree temperatures.

2. When you’re about ready to have your bread, mix 1 cup of starter in a bowl with 3 more
cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, about 1.5-2 cups of warm water and any mix-in (herbs, cheese,
etc.). You may need to add more water or flour depending on the consistency of the
dough - kind of a shaggy dough ball.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it overnight to fluff (I say “fluff” because it
really can’t be called “rising”). Before you’re ready to bake you may have to add more flour
so it’s not too sticky to handle.

4. On the day of baking: preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cast iron pot (with lid)
or a pizza stone in there to preheat with the oven. Meanwhile, form your bread into a loaf
(use more flour if it’s very sticky), place it on a cutting board and cover it with your plastic
wrap. After about 30 minutes of preheating, toss the loaf into the cast iron pot or onto
your pizza stone and bake for 30 minutes covered, then another 15 minutes uncovered.

NOTE - you can probably bake this in a loaf pan too, but the cooking time might vary
slightly, so keep an eye on it. The cast iron/pizza stone is what gives the bread a nice
hard crust.

Ok, so that seems like way more than ten minutes of work, but I promise you - most of it is
waiting. One must wait for the perfectly crusty and delicious loaf of sourdough. I think they
probably teach you that in culinary school.

I obviously missed my calling!

The good news is, I can make a mean loaf of sourdough. You can tweak and massage this
recipe any way til Tuesday to make it the perfect type of bread for you and your family. Some

leave the sourdough starter out and just make plain bread
mix in lemon zest and rosemary
mix in goat cheese and chives
grate in cheddar cheese and mix in chopped jalapenos and then sprinkle some grated
cheese on top before baking
mix in cinnamon and raisins
use about ½ cup of pumpkin puree or beet puree in place of the water in the recipe

The opportunities are endless with this bread. I’m officially in love. I hope you are able to enjoy
this recipe as much as I have!

**Thanks Becca!  Sourdough has been on my "to make" list for a long time, I think you've convinced me to finally try making it.**

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  1. I cook like a fiend but the thought of making yeast bread terrifies me for some reason! I've thought about buying a bread maker but I think the shape of the loaves is yucky too. I think your recipe might be the perfect one for me to try - thanks for sharing!

  2. Just for future reference for anyone with a bread machine or thinking about buying a bread machine: You don't have to bake the bread in the machine. You can let the machine do all the work up to that point, then transfer to loaf pans and bake them in the oven. Still very little work for you, and you get the traditional bread shape.

  3. Very true Sarah, I thought about doing that, but it still proved to be more work than I was willing to do :)

  4. Ooooh - I love that idea! If that's the case and you still want to ditch your machine, I'll take it! Or at least borrow it for awhile : )

  5. This is an amazing idea! I can't wait to try it! The last time I baked bread I followed instructions I read in a book to crisp up the crust by throwing a shot glass of water into the oven to create steam. Quick tip: Aim away from the oven light or you will shatter the bulb all over your beautiful loaves.

  6. Just stopping over from the OBA Swap. I love the overnight method. When my kids were small I made a cinnamon and raisin loaf using the overnight method. Your variations sound delightful. Looking forward to trying this out.

  7. I love my bread machine - it makes my dough and then I pop in in the oven. I can't wait to try your recipe out!

  8. I admit I love my bread machine. I always use the dough setting and then bake the bread in the oven.

    I like how you gave ideas for some variations to the bread. Can't wait to try them out.

  9. I've heard of the no-knead method of baking bread, but so far I haven't tried it. It's on the list.