Matthew 6:11 - Give us this day, our daily bread.
One of the things I have always felt deficient in is feeling comfortable cooking.
My mother and brother were excellent cooks, I just never felt confident in the kitchen, although I think I have a very good palette.
I made bread a few times in my twenties but have always wanted to tackle a sourdough.
Haven't baked since.
I decided to devote some time to making one yesterday.
Actually, the process started the night before.
I had watched hours of sourdough videos on Youtube and decide to roughly follow this one. Mike Greenfield - Pro Home Cooks.
Watched it too many times.
Was in constant text and phone communication with my two bread mentors, Gina and Renée.
My journey towards the perfect loaf started on Wednesday night at ten o'clock.
I had been feeding a borrowed starter for about two weeks and it looked and smelled ready. Passed the float test.
I stirred them together with a dough whisk.
Covered it in plastic at room temperature and went to bed.
Did not use ice water as was called for.
This process of initially mixing flour and water is called an autolyse.
Salt changes the flour hydration and I would not add the 75 grams of starter and 10 grams of salt until the morning.
These amounts that I am using are based on a formula called baker's percentages.
I woke up at six in the morning and went to work mixing. At six thirty I started a series of operations called stretch and folds for two and a half or three hours, every half hour, giving the dough a nice workout and gluten structure.
The three to four hours suddenly was now over seven hours. And waiting.
Sadly, my dough would never rise considerably, although the bubble action was amazing.
Finally I decided to cut my losses and just say go for it. I didn't want to be doing this at midnight. It would either be good enough or a spectacular failure. I wasn't sure at this point.
This type of sourdough is what is known as a wet loaf, with very high hydration.
It is very tricky to work with. I did my best. You don't want to overwork it either.
I could tell that my dough was very wet.
I stuck the finished mixture in a floured banneton covered with muslin, and let it rest at room temperature.
Many prefer to proof in the refrigerator, or overnight in the fridge, it is said to accentuate the sour dough flavor.
I didn't have that option, my fridge is full.
At about 6:30 last night I preheated the oven, with my large dutch oven inside at 500°.
I turned my loaf upside down on a piece of parchment paper coated with corn meal. Probably should have brushed some excess flour off the loaf but really didn't have a suitable brush. Oh well. I didn't have a razor or lame and made do with the tip of a sharp knife. Scoring is important, bakers want a nice ear. Next time.
I cooked at 475° for 18 minutes, then took the lid off the dutch oven and gave it another 20 or so, after sliding a baking dish under the enormous heavy pot.
It is recommended that you use a five quart dutch oven, I used the seven, having a choice between it and the three and a half. The bread spread out a lot with the 28cm width.