as promised, here is the recipe for the bread i posted a picture of previously. the recipe is based on the Red Star White Bread #1 Recipe but altered according to Sourdough Jack’s instructions on this page.
- 1 c active sourdough starter
- 6.5 c bread flour
- 1 c milk
- 1.25 c water
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 3 Tbsp sugar
to help get an idea of the time the steps take, i’ll include the time i did the various steps, based on the timestamps of the photos.
first you need enough active starter. the pictures to the right show the starter after i fed it at 12:13pm on Dec 19, and then at 9:11pm that night when it had become very bubbly and doubled in volume.
so according to “Sourdough Jack” you start by adding 1 cup of sourdough starter to 2/3 of the flour and the liquids, so i put 4 cups of bread flour into a big bowl, along with 1 cup of sourdough starter and the milk and water. since measuring flour by volume can result in varying amounts, i weighed each cup i put in and they appeared to be about 4.5 oz each, so that’s 18 oz of flour. stir it all up and you should get a sort of thick batter, but definitely not something that’s a dough.
next, cover the dough and wait. the instructions say to wait 14-16 hours, but i had this mixed up by about 9:30pm and started the next phase at 7:30am the next morning. i suppose the longer you wait, the more intense the sour flavor is. i also learned that if you want more sourness, use less starter. i think this is directly related to the amount of time it takes the dough to rise. i actually added about 1/2 cup more starter to this after that last picture.
the next morning the dough (they call this the sponge i think?) looked like this:
now you want to add the other ingredients, except the rest of the flour. so add the vegetable oil, salt, and sugar and mix it all up. finally, add the flour, about 1 cup at a time and get it all incorporated, then dump it onto a floured surface for some kneading. at this point it will be very sticky and if you poke it with your finger it will leave an indentation.
some photos showing the dough before kneading… the actual kneading… and after kneading. according to the photo timestamps, i kneaded by hand for about 10 mins. (thanks to my lovely girlfriend for taking the action shots.) after kneading the dough should be very springy so when you poke it, it springs right back and doesn’t leave a finger hole like in the first picture. form it into a round smooth ball and let it rest for 10 mins. i let mine rest for almost 30 because i was distracted.
now you can form 2 loaves and let the dough rise in the loaf pans. there are probably many good ways to form bread loaves – i only know this one so far so i use it for all the bread i make:
now cover the loaves with some plastic wrap (spray some non-stick stuff or a little flour on it so it doesn’t stick to the dough), and wait for them to rise. this time we’re waiting for them to get puffy so when you poke them with a finger, it does leave a small indentation. for me, this took from 8:23am to 11:49am, so about 3.5 hours.
the loaves rose and filled the pans and now stick up over the top. i sliced the top of the loaves in 3 places diagonally with a razor blade to allow them to expand more in the oven, then put them in at 400 degrees for about 30 mins. they should be done when they’re a nice brown and sound hollow, but you can also take one out, turn the loaf out onto a counter and stick an instant-read thermometer in it to see how hot it got in the middle. depending on your altitude, you want this to be around 195-200 degrees. you can poke it in the top but then you have a hole in your bread and that’s not cool. if it’s not done, put it back in the oven a little longer – you don’t really need the pan anymore at this point. if they are done, let them cool on a cooling rack, and enjoy!