Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

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After about a month of....testing? I finally produced a good bread from my mother starter.  I kept trying to do the "purist" versions of the breads and it just wasn't working out for me, so I broke down and added some yeast and let the bread sit in the refrigerator for 3 days to let it mature and have a nice sour flavor.  I was so stoked when I tasted this bread because it is 100% whole wheat and tastes really really good.  So here is the recipe, keep in mind it does require a lot of patience because it takes almost two weeks to make it.  But once you get the system down, you can refrigerate batches to have at the ready and even freeze it.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter Ingredients:
2 oz. (1/4 c.) of mother starter (see previous starter recipe)
6 oz. (1 1/2 c.)whole wheat flour
4.5 oz. (1/2 c. plus 1 T.) warm water

Wheat Wheat Sourdough Ingredients:
sourdough starter (above)
1 oz. (1 1/2 T.) honey
12 oz. (1 1/2 c.) warm water
1/2 oz (2 T.) oil
10 oz. (3 1/2 c.) whole wheat flour
1/2 oz. (2 t.) salt
1 1/2 t. yeast

Mixing the starter:
On a clean surface, make a crater of the whole wheat flour.  Take the mother starter and break it up into a couple pieces, place pieces in the crater.  Add some of the water to the crater making sure it doesn't overflow.  Soften the mother starter pieces in the warm water by mixing gently with your fingers.

Begin bringing in the flour from the sides of the crater and slowly add in the rest of the water.  Until all the ingredients are mixed into a slightly sticky ball.

Place the starter ball into a clean, lightly oiled container, cover loosely with saran wrap, and leave the starter out to ferment for 6 to 8 hours until 1 1/2 times original size.  You can then either use the starter immediately or place it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  I let it ferment in the refrigerator to build more sour flavor.

Making the dough:
Pull the starter into a bunch of pieces (10-12) and places them into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.  Add the warm water, honey, and oil to the bowl and stir on low speed to soften. Next add in the flour, salt and yeast and mix until all ingredients are combined and form a crumbly dough.  Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, turn the mixer to medium-low speed for 5 more minutes.  The dough should be slightly sticky and supple.  If the dough it too dry, add in a little water.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and fold it onto itself starting back to front, front to back, and then the sides.  Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl for 10 mins.  Repeat the folding process three more times for a total of four times.  After the last fold, form the dough back into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover the bowl tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate for up to four days (at least 8-10 hours).

Pull the dough out f the refrigerator at least 4 hours before baking.  Shape the dough into a loaf and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan.  Spray dough lightly with oil, and cover to let rise.  Uncover dough about 15 minutes before baking and score with a knife.

About 30 mins before baking, place a deep metal pan into the very bottom rack of the oven, place the top rack in the middle positions, and turn the oven to 500 degrees.  Just before baking, pour 1 cup of water into the meta pan on the bottom rack and place the sheet pan with the dough on the top rack.  Bake for 35-45 mins until the dough reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees and sounds hollow.

Let bread cool on a wire rack for at least one hour before slicing (preferably 3 hours).  I snuck in a taste as I was taking the photos and oh wow!  This is good sourdough bread.

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