A Sourdough Series
Who knew there were so many things you could do with sourdough, right?! I get it…Sourdough is a large topic so I thought I would tackle this in baby steps! Here is the breakdown:
I highly recommend that you start with the first post and work down the list in the order that I have them. I have posted them within the level of difficulty. Beginners sourdough being the easiest to organic sourdough bagels being the most challenging.
All can be achieved. And as always, ask away in the comment section below this post!
A Closer Look at San Francisco Sourdough
While sourdough starters and bread made from starters have been around for thousands of years, the term “sourdough” has a pretty short history. It is a US term that came into use during the California Gold Rush days of the late 1800s.
Many gold miners obtained provisions in the booming coastal town of San Francisco before heading up into the mountains, and a good bread starter would have been a vital necessity. Starters from that area produced bread with a unique and particularly sour tang. Thus, the starters and bread from that area became known as “sourdough.” (source)
What is the difference — say to my beginners organic sourdough bread recipe? WATER or in bread terms — hydration! There is less water in this dough which will create a stiffer dough and a crackly harder crust with a good crumb. It also rises considerably more than my beginners recipe.
Crust & Crumb
Often, when people talk about sourdough, they talk about the crust and crumb.
A great sourdough loaf has a tangy aroma, a chewy crust and a crumb full of irregular bubbles.
Do you see it in this picture. The crust is chewy, harder in texture. The bread is airy and full of bubbles.
Sourdough ~ The Holy Grail of Breads
Sourdough is truly the holy grail of bread. Once you master this, you will have truly have mastered the art of bread making.
It isn’t hard to make, but it does take time and a bit of technique. With practice, you will get a feel for your sourdough starter and for your sourdough in general. Yes, they all have different personalities and characteristics. Get to know yours, what it likes and dislikes.
Learn to trust your instincts and remember it is a process. Enjoy the process! It really is quite rewarding and absolutely delicious!
San Francisco Sourdough Bread Recipe
Are you ready to tackle this recipe? Great! Couple quick tips. Get a scale! Bread making is a science and measuring should be exact.
Next, purchase a true San Francisco sourdough starter. It makes a difference.
Finally, don’t overthink this. It should be fun and remember it is a learning process. Enjoy the process and give me a shout out if you should have any questions. 🙂
A Traditional San Francisco Sourdough Bread Recipe!
- In a large bowl mix together the sourdough starter, filtered water, olive oil and bread flour. Do not add the salt. Leave in the bowl for 1/2 hour to rest. This is called the autolyse phase.
- After the rest time is over, add the sea salt. Knead until well incorporated (about 2 minutes).
- The dough will not be elastic, it will easily break apart. After the bulk fermentation, the gluten will break down so do not worry about this.
- Put the dough back into the bowl after kneading the salt in cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place until dough doubles in size. Mine took another 3 hours.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough from the bowl and onto a floured surface. Cut the dough equally into 2 pieces. Each piece will make 1 loaf. The dough will deflate in this process so no need to punch down.
- Form the dough into a tight round circle by patting the dough into a rough circle and then folding the edges into the center and tightly forming a ball. Place seam side up into a banneton that has been floured with cornmeal. You can also place your dough seam side down into a dutch oven that is dusted with cornmeal.
- Allow the dough to do a second shorter rise of 1-2 hours or until the dough becomes springy and slightly puffy. I allowed mine to rise for 2 more hours. It will not double in size again, but don’t worry about this as it will rise quite a bit in the baking process.
- Preheat an oven to 450F.
- If using a banneton, gently flip your dough into a dutch oven or into a la cloche dome baker that has been dusted liberally with cornmeal. Place the lid onto the dutch oven and/or the la cloche dome baker.
- Place the bread into the oven and reduce the heat to 400F.
- Cooked covered for 20 minutes and then remove the lids and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Check the internal temperature at this time. You want it to be between 200F- 205F.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. Resist cutting into a warm loaf of bread as it will become gummy in texture.
Recipe adapted from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
I have this recipe measured in grams. It is very important when making bread to measure by weight rather than by cups or tablespoons. This will give you the most accurate results. Invest in a scale. This is the one that I have: my digital scale