A lot of people think bread baking is difficult. Mention sourdough, and eyeball start rolling up in heads. I understand the fear. When my son took Physics last year, I felt paralyzed with my own ignorance of the subject. I didn’t understand the first page of his textbook.
My sourdough starter originated with purple beets. For several weeks, the starter was a vivid pink. Like all starters, through the process of feeding and time, eventually the color became a creamy white. Most people name their starters, who knew? So, in honor of the beets, my starter was named Beatrice.
Beatrice was fed the day before I made the dough so she was ripe and bubbly when needed. I made a grain and seed soaker the night before, too.
- Boiling Water 6 oz
- Multigrain Mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill 7 Grain Hot Cereal) 5 oz
- Kosher Salt .5 oz
- Sesame Seed .5 oz
- Poppy Seed .5 oz
- Pour the boiling water over the grains and seeds and allow the mixture to soften overnight.
- Water 4 oz
- Yeast, instant 1 ½ instant or 2 tsp active dry (if using active dry yeast, activate the yeast in the 4 oz of water prior to adding all the other ingredients))
- Starter 7 oz
- Honey 1 ½ oz
- Bread Flour 13 oz
- Place all ingredients in a mixer with the dough hook attachment.
- Mix for 6 minutes at medium speed to facilitate gluten development. Adjust with water and bread flour as necessary. Check dough for stretchy elasticity. Mix longer if needed.
- Cover bowl of mixer with greased plastic wrap and allow dough to ferment until doubled. At this point, you can shape the dough into whatever final shapes you prefer. Let the shaped dough rise again and then bake. A further step would be to shape the dough and place in floured bannetons – woven baskets which create the lovely floured rings that are visible on the baked bread. Allow the dough filled bannetons to retard overnight in the refrigerator. Cover the baskets with greased plastic wrap.
- The next day, bring the dough to room temperature. The overnight retarding adds layers of complex flavor to an already tasty bread.
- Gently turn the bread out of the banneton onto a floured piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Do not bake the banneton. Score the top of the dough.
- Bake at 375 degrees in a convection oven and spray a fine mist of water into the oven every few minutes until the bread starts to brown. Sourdoughs love steam! Bake until bread is a deep, golden brown and internal temperature registers 200 degrees.
- Allow bread to cool for several hours on a rack. Sourdoughs benefit from the cooling time and you will be rewarded with delightful bread.