After a week of waiting…we have bread! If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 – you can read about them here and here. The sourdough turned out great – not too sour and very rustic! Once baked, the bread became wonderfully flavorful and hearty with a beautiful crust! Definitely worth the wait! The best part is that I have leftover starter in a jar in my refrigerator – it only needs to be replenished and I can have fresh sourdough bread any time!
To bake the sourdough:
1. Remove the dough mixture (see part 2) from the refrigerator and set it out to come to room temperature – this took about 2 hours.
2. Punch down the dough (it will be slightly sticky) and knead in 1 teaspoon of salt until smooth and elastic (you may need to add a little flour to help it come together).
3. Form the dough into 2 loaves (you can also make round loaves if you want) on a greased baking sheet.
4. Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled – about 45 minutes. Once risen, score the tops of the loaves.
5. Bake the loaves in a preheated 450 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes until nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped. To make a nice crust – place a shallow baking pan of boiling water on the lowest rack of your oven. Bake the loaves on the middle rack. Once cooked, turn off the oven and let the baked loaves sit in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes.
6. Cool completely (if you can) on a wire rack.
The total cost to make 2 loaves of rustic sourdough bread is $.52 – quite a savings from store-bought artisan style breads!
Although this process seems long – once you have your starter made, you will be able to bake fresh bread whenever you want. And if you have ever baked your own – you know that nothing smells or tastes as wonderful as fresh bread with butter!
If you’ve been trying out the process with me – I’d love to hear how yours turned out!