Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sourdough French Bread

I've been making a daube for the last 3 days and will show it tomorrow when it is ready. A good French daube just has to be eaten with a crunchy loaf of French bread so I made some for the first time using my sourdough starter. I am becoming brave and using my starter more and more and am now much more comfortable with it.

Last night I measured out 1 1/2 cups of my starter then added 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water. I let this sit covered overnight. This is what it looked like this morning.

I poured the starter mix into the bowl of my mixer and added 2 1/4 teaspoons of instant rise yeast, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoons of oil and 1 cup of water.

Then I added about 6 cups of flour. The amount of flour can vary so add enough until your dough looks like this and is still a bit sticky but pulls away from the side of the mixer bowl.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it to cover the surface lightly in oil. Cover and let it double in bulk. This takes about an hour.

This is how it should look once it has doubled.

This is the pan I used for my loaves.

I measured the dough so I had 3 equal balls.

On a lightly floured surface, you roll the dough to form logs.

Then you pull and stretch them gently to fit the pan.

I always line my pans with a bit of parchment to keep them from sticking. These loaves where a bit too sticky so next time I will be sure to add more flour.

Let them rise again then gently slash the surface of each loaf a few times. It took them about 30 minutes to rise this much. Place them in a 400 degree preheated oven with a pan of water on the bottom. The water will create steam which gives you a crispy crust.

Mine baked for about 40 minutes. The front loaf shows what the bottom of the finished loaf should look like. The loaves were a bit large for the triple pan I used so next time I might use individual French loaf pans. I also will take the time to shape them a bit better next time.

However, with a pat of butter and sprinkled with a bit of sea salt, they were still delicious and will be wonderful with tomorrow's daube.