BASIC SOURDOUGH STARTER
Refrigerate between uses–
1 (1/4-oz.) pkg. active dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 cups warm water (110°F., 45°C.)
1/3 cup nonfat-milk powder
2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
(Container for mixing starter should be large enough toallow mixture to double in bulk. Always use a nonmetal container and plastic orwooden spoons. Metal containers andutensils produce an undesirable flavor.)
In a large nonmetal container or bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar or honey inwater. Let stand until foamy, 5 to10 minutes. With a wooden orplastic spoon, stir in milk powder and flour. Small lumps in batter will be dissolved by fermentation process. Cover container with 2 to 3 layers of cheesecloth; secure with an elasticband. Set in a warm place free fromdrafts. Stir mixture several timeseach day. (Clear liquid that risesto the top of the starter should be stirred back into it several times a day.)
Let stand 3 to 5 days until starter has a pleasant sour aroma and is full ofbubbles.
Note: If starter turns orange or pink, undesirable bacteria have invaded it. Mixture must be discarded.
To use starter, remove amount called for in recipe; bringto room temperature before preparing sponge.
Once starter is made, it may be refrigerated indefinitely,as long as it is replenished every 2 weeks.
To replenish starter, add equal amounts of flour and water.
For instance, if you use 1 cup starter, replenish by adding1 cup flour and 1 cup water. Coverand let stand in a warm place overnight. Coverand refrigerate.
If refrigerated starter is not used for 2 to 3 weeks,remove 1/2 cup and discard, or give it to a friend. Replenish as directed above.
SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH BREAD
This takes some forethought, since not only do you need toprepare the Basic Sourdough Starter in advance but you also must prepare thesponge at least 24 hours before beginning to make the dough for the finalloaves.
Sponge, see below Cornmeal, if desired
2 ½teaspoons salt 1 egg white blended with
4 ¾to 5 ¼ cupsflour 1 tablespoon water (glaze)
1 ½cups warm water 110°F., 45°C.
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cupnonfat-milk powder
1 cup Basic Sourdough Starter, see above
2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
In large nonmetal bowl, combine all ingredients for sponge.
Cover with a double layer of cheesecloth secure with anelastic band. Let stand and fermentin a warm place, free from drafts, 24 to 48 hours, depending on sournessdesired. Stir once or twice a daywith a wooden or plastic spoon.
When sponge is fermented and bubbly, add salt and enoughflour to make a soft dough. Turnout dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cleanand grease bowl, set aside.
Knead dough 10 to 12 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a slightly damp towel. Letrise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Grease 2 large baking sheets or 2 (2-quart) casserole dishes. If desired, lightly sprinkle cornmeal over baking sheets or bottoms ofdishes.
Punch down dough; knead 30 seconds. Divide dough in half. Shapeinto narrow oblong loaves with tapered ends for baking sheets or round loavesfor casserole dishes. Place onprepared baking sheets or in prepared dishes. Cover with a dry towel. Letrise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Adjust oven racks to 2 lowest positions. Place a shallow roasting pan on lowest shelf; pour in 2 cups boilingwater.
Preheat oven to425 F (220C). Slash tops of oblongloaves diagonally and round loaves in 3 slashes horizontally and 3 slashesvertically, in tic-tac-toe designs. Brushslashes loaves with egg-white glaze. Bake 15 minutes; brush again with egg-white glaze. Remove roasting pan from oven. Bakeloaves 15 to 20 minutes longer or until bread sounds hollow when tapped onbottom. Brush loaves a third timewith egg-white glaze, 5 minutes before removing from oven. Remove from dishes or baking sheets.
Cool on racks.
Yield: 2 loaves.
This recipe has been kitchen tested.
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Copyright © 1999-2005 S.H. Klock/ The Recipe Reader / at Home Cookin’.