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Easy Sourdough Bread

Baking bread during quarantine? What an elegant and original idea!


What is Sourdough?


Sourdough is possibly the grossest food concept in the world. In order to prepare a batch of sourdough starter (which is literally just flour and water), you need to leave it out in the open and let ferment for weeks at a time, sometimes years.


Normally, fermentation in bread baking involves yeast. Yeast is a fungus, so it acts as the strain for breaking down big molecules into smaller, more useful ones. But sourdough starter doesn't use yeast; instead, fermentation in sourdough relies purely on the microorganisms floating around the air.


Whenever you eat sourdough, remember that the lead chefs were random passersby of bacteria and fungus.

Prep: 13 hrs | Cooking: 1 hr | Total: 14 hrs

Yields 1 loaf


INGREDIENTS

  • Sourdough starter (1 tbsp)

  • Water (3 cups)

  • Bread flour (5 cups)

  • Salt (2 tsp)


DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, combine sourdough started and water. Stir, then mix in the bread flour and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a room temperature area for 30 minutes.

  2. Place the dough on a smooth, flour-dusted surface. Knead, fold, and stretch until smooth (try to avoid using excess flour, even if the dough is sticky). The more you knead, the better.

  3. Place the dough in a floured proofing basket (or just a regular bowl with a flour-covered towel inside) and let rest, covered, overnight (12 hours) at room temperature.

  4. Place an empty baking pan in the oven and preheat to 500 °F.

  5. Flip the proofing basket over a flour- or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet and let the dough fall out. Dust the surface with a bit more flour and make one swift, deep knife slash (score) across the top of the dough.

  6. Pour 1 cup of water into the heated baking pan to create steam. Place dough in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. Monitor closely toward the last 10 minutes of baking. If it's golden brown, it's done.

  7. Let bread cool at least 45 minutes before eating (this isn't so you don't burn your tongue; it allows the inside to solidify).

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