No Knead Sourdough Bread

The yeast (in bread) is not my best friend these days, so I decided to make sourdough, like I used to.  I made the starter a couple weeks ago, and I’m really pleased.  It picked up wild yeast from the air, pretty easily, and started fermenting.  This is a picture of the starter.

Sourdough Starter

I mixed 1 cup white whole wheat flour, 1 cup unbleached white flour (both organic), and 1 cup filtered water.  I cleaned the inside edges of the bowl well, after I mixed the dough.  I covered it with a bamboo mat, then with a  clean cotton (non-terry) dishtowel (the bamboo mat just holds the towel up).  After bubbles started forming on the surface, I knew I had an active starter.  I left it sit for about 4 days, until it started to smell sour.  If it had developed any off odors or mold, I would have to have started over.  After the first day, I stirred it once a day to keep a skin from forming on top.

Next, I used a cup of the starter and made dough (recipe follows).  Sourdough only takes patience and time, but not a lot of work.  The dough should look pretty shaggy and slightly moist and tacky.  And now I waited for it to form bubbles and double, anywhere from 8 to 24 hours normally.  I just covered the bowl with a plastic bathing cap (I save them all from hotels!).  Then I had to replenish the starter with a cup of flour and a half cup of filtered water, let it sit to start fermenting again, then put the starter in a jar and store it in the fridge, for the next time I make bread.

This is what the dough looked like when I first mixed it.

After it rose (about 8 hours), I scraped it into a well floured stainless steel bowl.  Then I floured the top of the dough around the edges where it met the bowl.  This is a picture after it’s risen and ready to bake.Sourdough Bread 1

After preheating the covered cast iron pan, I put the bowl with the dough into the pan, covered the pan, and baked it.Sourdough Bread 2

Before you look at the picture of the finished loaf, I have to tell you a couple things.  This was not my first attempt.  My first attempt, I put the dough in a pastry cloth to let it rise.  The dough got too tacky and stuck to the cloth, making a huge mess, and a very flat loaf of bread.  So, I decided on the bowl method, which works well, however the finished bread has a soft crust.  If you like soft crust, no need to change the method.  I’m going to try for a more crusty loaf the next time.  My next trial will include getting a large piece of parchment paper and wetting it, then taking the excess water out of the parchment, and lining the metal bowl with it, then placing the dough in the parchment to let it rise.  (When you wet parchment, it makes it very pliable.)  After the dough rises, and I have my pan preheated, I’ll lift the parchment and the dough out, and place it in the preheated pan to bake.  And I’ll let you know how that turns out, wish me luck!  Update:  I tried it, and it’s a little crustier, and a whole lot easier to get out of the pan after baking, so I’ll keep using the parchment.

No Knead Sourdough Bread

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter, room temperature
  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 cup white wholewheat and 2 cups all purpose)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Should look shaggy like the picture near the top. If you need a little more flour, add it.
  2. Cover bowl, and leave the dough to "sour" and rise 8-24 hours usually, until it's spread, doubled, and bubbly.
  3. Make sure to add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water back to the jar with the remaining starter to "feed" it. Let it sit on the counter until it's bubbly. Replace the jar lid, and store in fridge until the next time.
  4. Wet a large piece of parchment, and squeeze it dry. Shape it to the inside of the bowl that you are using to let the dough rise. It should be a similar shape to the pan you'll bake it in. Scrape the bread dough into the parchment lined bowl, use a little flour to help you scrape, if needed. Cover the bowl and let the dough double in size, before baking. It can be 8 hours in our house, when it's cool.
  5. Heat the covered cast iron pan in a 450° oven 1/2 hour before baking the bread.
  6. Remove the parchment and the dough from the bowl and place it in the heated pan, replace the lid. Bake for 1/2 hour, then remove the lid. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until nicely golden.
  7. Remove from oven, remove parchment and bread from pan, cool bread on rack.
  8. Note: I use an enamel-lined, cast iron pan to bake the bread, but any heavy pan with a lid should work.
http://www.centexcooks.com/no-knead-sourdough-bread/