Baking on Friday (Sunday Edition): Rustic Sourdough Bread

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After seeing the recipe for Rustic Sourdough Bread that King Arthur Flour posted on Facebook, I got a bee in my bonnet to give it a try.  Mike loves sourdough and it looked like fun to me, although it took some time to develop my starter.  I've been writing about it in previous posts, but rather than go over all of that again, you can find the instructions for making the starter on the King Arthur Flour blog.  Here's how mine was looking yesterday.  The bubbles indicate that it is active and ready-to-use.  While it took several days' time to create the starter, it took almost no time at all to keep it going.  It was more a game of waiting than a labor-intensive process.  

So this morning, I made the dough and kneaded it using a bread hook and my standing mixer for about 2 1/2 minutes, then put it into a bowl and let it rise for 90 minutes.  At the end of 90 minutes, I cut it into two parts and placed both on a baking sheet lined with parchment to rise for an hour more.

Now here's where I learned something.  For one thing, I was instructed to cover the loaves.  I did that, but the plastic clung to the tops of the loaves, and (I think) prevented them from rising as much as they might have.  When a bread dough has risen enough, it should not spring back when you touch it lightly with your finger.  This did, and so I knew it needed more time.  I wasn't sure how to solve the problem of covering it, and so decided just to leave it uncovered.  Also, I decided to put it into my warming drawer, and that did the trick.  It rose quickly after that.  Still, it didn't rise as much as I'd hoped it would.  It's shaped more like a loaf of Ciabatta bread than sourdough.  

Nevertheless, it baked up nicely, and here it is!  So totally cool!  (Warm, actually.) 

Maybe other people don't get as excited as I do about baked goods, but I can tell you that fresh bread straight from the oven--especially when it's something I've never tried before--makes me want to jump for joy.  In fact, I did jump for joy when I took it out of the oven.  (I'll just give you a moment to consider the visual of my feet actually leaving the floor at the sight of freshly baked sourdough bread.)

And here's the thing.  I'm like a kid in a bakery when it comes to stuff out of my own oven.  I was supposed to let it cool, and I did . . . for about ten seconds, which was how long it took me to find my knife.  That seemed like plenty of time to me, and so I cut into it and had a taste.  Oh my gosh.  It was so heavenly that I had to steady myself on the kitchen counter to keep from fainting dead away.

Then I took some outside to Mike, who is mowing the field, and gave him a piece.  (Generous of me, don't you think?)  He loved it.

The dinner we were supposed to have with friends last night was rescheduled to tonight.  I had planned to take the second loaf with us to give to them as a gift.  But after tasting it Mike said, "I think we should keep that second loaf."  And so we shall.  They'll never know the difference.  I wonder if the butter dripping from my chin will give us away.

Finally, I just want to say that if you love baking as much as I do, I can highly recommend the King Arthur Flour website and blog.  They've just moved into a fancy new place and their store looks fabulous.  I only wish I lived closer so I could shop there in person.

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Needled Mom said...

Yum!!!! I just fed my starter last night for some sourdough bread making. Did you use the KA recipe? I wish we had a store close to us as I LOVE their website. They have the best ingredients for bread making.

Your loaf looks delicious with lots of wonderful texture on the inside.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

The chinful of butter can be seen from here and it looks delectable. So does the bread !~!

Judy1522 said...

Waiting for bread to cool never happens around my house either. Your bread looks delicious.

Ruth said...

I love sour dough bread and there is a store in Oregon that sells the best! Maybe I should try making it. I think I'll save the King Arthur recipe. I love good bread!

quiltzyx said...

Wow! The loves look fabulous!! I would be more jealous...but I just had some Fresh & Easy freshly baked garlic bread, with whole garlic cloves in it! Yep, I had butter dripping from my chin too. LOL