the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sourdough bread in 5 minutes a day

I love bread.  It really doesn't matter what kind.  Farmhouse, honey oat, Artisan, Whole Wheat, White... I have even learned in my life as a mostly grown up to enjoy rye and pumpernickle. 

And Sourdough?  Oh sourdough, how do I love you?  Let me count the ways...

I am also learning the art of food fermentation.  Yogurt, Water Kefir, soaked grains... the many uses  of sourdough starter!  Oh I've made muffins and pancakes and more pancakes and waffles and pancakes.  Did I mention the pancakes?  (Today IS National Pancake Day, people!) 
Except... I have NOT had much success with sourdough bread.  It just didn't come out... right.  It didn't rise, it was WAY too crusty.  Don't get me wrong, I love crust... just not enough to chip a tooth on it.  So sourdough has elluded me... until today! 

Another thing I love?  Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day.  This is the ONLY way I can have fresh bread in the summer.  It is just too busy a time of year to be on a bungy cord attached to the kneading and rising and punching and rising and shaping and rising and baking... gesh.  I have bett-ah things to do! Like swim in a pool, feed chickens, tend look at pigs (Five-Oh raises those), milk goats, make chevre and weed gardens!  Oh and raise children.  Ha, almost forgot about those hungry growing buggers blessings from heaven.

Wait, wait, what?  You've never heard of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day!?  Oh ma gosh.  It's SOOOO easy.  You mix up, like, 4 ingredients, put it in a non metal bowl, let it rise, stick it in the fridge and pull out a softball size ball of dough everytime you want artisan bread.  Or you can make it into pizza, or cinnamon rolls or well, anything that's made with dough.  You get the idea here?  You see the broad scope of possibilities?!

You're welcome.

Next comes the inspiration that just shot down out of the heavens and into my head this morning.  (Thank you Jesus!)  What if... stay with me here people... what if I combined the sourdough starter with the ideas of Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day!?  And so that is exactly what I did with mah bad self.

Sourdough Bread in 5 Minutes a day
1 1/2 c Sourdough Starter (my starter is fed 1/2 flour, 1/2 water quantities at a time)
2 1/4 c warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast (you need a little of this yeast in order to get a good rise from the 'fridge)
1 Tbsp kosher salt
6 c flour (I used organic white)

Mix it all up.  I used my kitchenaid mixer, but absolutely do NOT leave your dough to rise in a stainless steel bowl.  It messes with the wee yeasties.  Transfer over to a ceramic or plastic container.  Your dough should be a slightly sticky mass.  Allow to rise for 6-8 hours or so. (You can't really go wrong here.)  Stick it in your fridge.  When you are ready to bake follow the baking instructions found here.  Or get creative.  Today I made calzones and cinnamon buns! 

UPDATE: I followed the directions in the link for making an artisan loaf. I handled it minimally, just gently shaped.  And I let it sit out for about 1 - 1 1/2 hrs before baking. And baked it at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  It was the BEST loaf of artisan bread I ever made in. my. life.  And that says a lot.  The picture above is that very loaf.  Delicious-o!

(free sourdough starter)