Our sourdough bread

Marc is normally the bread baker in these parts, but I wanted to try my hand at it….baking many loaves at a time, as we go through much bread in this house! With 4 growing children, Marc and I, and grandma…I’d say from 6-8 loaves a week! It all begins with Marc’s sourdough starter, which is essentially…the wild yeast to rise our bread, that we keep alive by continually feeding with flour and water. You can get instructions on how to start your own sourdough here : 

http://www.takebackthebread.com/starteripad.html

I begin in the morning by taking the starter out of the fridge and feeding it with about 1 cup flour and 1 cup water (or 2 and 2 if making a bigger batch, like this one..) I then put the starter on the pellet stove, or in a warm place, for about an hour…or until it really begins to bubble and become ‘active’..this recipe is for 4 loaves.

Below, a fuzzy picture of sourdough warming up…  
Then comes mixing the dough.In a big bowl, I mix 11 cups flour, 1.5 tbl sea salt, 2 tbl honey, 3 tbl olive oil, 3 cups starter, and 4 cups warm water. I hand mix this until it looks like this:

  
I then divide in half, and put one half in the mixer, with bread dough attachment, for about 5 minutes. I take out this rough and put into another bowl, then mix the other half for 5 minutes…(my mixer cannot handle this large amount of dough 😀) I add this to the first half, cover, and let rise a few hours, again, in a warm spot. 

 Below, dividing, kneading, rising….  
 After the first rise, I punch down the dough, and divide it into 4 somewhat equal pieces. I give each of them a few minutes in the mixer before shaping into loaves and putting them into the pans. If the dough is super sticky, this is when I add a spoonful or 2 of flour as it is kneading in the mixer. Once in the pans, I put them into a hundred degree oven for a few hours until doubled. 

Below, second kneading and rising….   
 I then take the loaves out, and heat oven to 425 degrees. I slice the tops just before I put them into the oven. Bake for about 42 minutes.  I use a spray bottle to mist with water a couple of times during baking, you don’t have to, but it helps to make a good crust!

  
So to sum up:

1) 7 am, feed starter – 2 cups flour, 2 cups water, mix well, and let it sit till it bubbles 

2) 8am, mix dough: 11 cups flour, 1.5 tbl sea salt, 2 tbl honey, 3 cups starter, 4 cups water, 3 tbl olive oil.

3) divide and knead in mixer

4) let rise till noontime

5) punch down, divide into 4 pieces, and re-knead, add flour if needed. Let rise until doubled. (I rise in warm, 100 degree oven)

6) around 4 or 5 pm, remove from oven, turn oven to 425 degrees. Slice tops of loaves, and bake for 42 minutes. (Misting with water a couple of times if you like…carefully avoiding the oven light bulb…or you can use a small pan at the bottom of the oven with water to create steam)

7) let cool before slicing!

Below, the finished bread…delicious, homemade….sliceable, enjoy!

   
   

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