Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MaryJane's Sourdough Bread

Since I made Virgil, my sourdough starter, the other day, I've been looking for recipes. I made Grace's sourdough bread, which was delicious but just not sourdoughy enough. We like a really strong sourdough flavor around here I guess.

This recipe comes from MaryJane's Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook by MaryJane Butters. MaryJane is an inspiration to me, an innovative and crafty farmgirl whom I feel is a kindred spirit for too many reasons to list here.

Last summer, Number One attempted to make MaryJane's sourdough starter, but it gets pretty hot in these parts and the darn stuff molded right in the jar. I might try again later, but for now, we've got Virgil.

I decided to try MaryJane's sourdough bread recipe, even though Virgil is a different starter, and see what happens. Is sourdough starter sourdough starter? I have no idea at all. I'm just hoping this recipe is closer to the "true" sourdough bread that I've been wanting to make. I know that it takes less time than Grace's for rising and whatnot. But less time makes it more difficult to fit into my schedule, at least until I get the hang of things.

I fed Virgil, per Grace's instructions, but he sat on the counter longer than 8 hours because I didn't decide to make MaryJane's bread until after Virgil had been fed. I'm hoping it won't matter. I'm such a novice here.

MaryJane's Sourdough Bread
Yield: one large round loaf or two baguettes

1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups purified water
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 to 4 cups organic flour*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

Place starter, water, and sea salt in a large glass bowl and whisk for 1 minute. Stir in enough of the flour to make a firm dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, working in flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

*(it took me 5 cups of flour before I was comfortable putting the sticky dough on my flour-covered table. I don't know if this had anything to do with the difference in starter? I ended up using about 7 cups flour total! Is this a lot? I have no idea...but kneading bread for 10 minutes is somewhat meditative...10 minutes is a l o n g time...)

Shape into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl, turning dough once to coat the top with oil. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 4 to 6 hours, until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and shape into one large round loaf or two baguettes. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and cover again with a damp tea towel. Let rise again for 1 to 2 hours, or until nearly doubled in bulk. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Make slits on the top of each loaf. Beat together the egg yolk and milk, and brush on the tops. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 450 degrees F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until crust is a rich golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the top.

This bread is delicious~still not what I would call a "true" sourdough flavor, but I've heard that might need time to develop in the starter itself. A lovely bread, crusty and beautified by the egg and milk wash...next time I might make baguettes! Oh this is fun.

P.S. MaryJane's not kidding when she says "one LARGE round loaf..."


reddquilter said...

Sounds like you are serious about this sourdough bread business. I just tried a new recipe for sourdough bread (I guess your passion is addicting).
It is a no knead sourdough bread, similar to but different than the 5 minute artisan bread method. I haven't cut into the bread yet, as you know it is best to let it cool before slicing (helps to set the crumb). Not sure how I managed not to cut into it but I will let you know the results. Also, MIndy I wondered if you would like me to bring a sample of my sourdough starter for you at our Foundation meeting. It has been a very good starter for me, you might like to try it out. Also I really need to do a post on our very favorite sourdough biscuits. They are more like a roll, but very much like my mom made when I was a child. Happy Baking!

Min said...

I am still planning to try the 5 minute method. Oh, I can't resist a warm slice of bread with butter! And, I would LOVE a sample of your starter (along with feeding instructions and your favorite bread recipe, of course!) That would be amazing. Biscuits, rolls, whatever, bring it on! This is fun!! Thanks =)

Grace said...

that's one huge hunk of gorgeous bread, min! hooray for virgil!

Min said...

And it was delicious too! Virgil does good work =)

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