This bread is our absolute favorite. It’s quite a bit of work, and not a speedy bread, but it’s well worth it! And, fwiw, the work is broken up into short segments.
What’s not to love about sourdough anything? If you have good sourdough starter, you don’t need yeast, and it lends a very pleasant taste to your yeast-type baked goods. It can also be used to make some delicious pancakes, no mix needed. https://eclecticmusings.blog/2021/01/09/sourdough-pancakes-whole-wheat-w-flax-seeds/
1 ½ cups warm water
1 cup sourdough starter
3 cups flour*
2 teaspoons sugar
1 additional cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Flour for kneading surface
Cornmeal for baking sheet
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend well.
Combine additional flour, salt, and baking soda & stir well.
Add flour/salt mixture to wet mix and knead for 5 minutes with a machine or 10 minutes by hand. If kneading by hand, four the surface very lightly. Keep the dough as light as possible.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until double.
Punch down and knead again, same as before.
Cover and let rise until double again.
Punch down, cover, and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
Remove from refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature and rise to double again.
Grease cookie sheet and cover with a light coating of cornmeal.
Dough may now be formed into loaves by alternately rolling & patting into long “sausage” shapes. I usually make 2 or 3 loaves.
Arrange on cookie sheet.
Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm place until double.
When double, place an oblong cake pan about ½ full of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Using a sharp, non-serrated knife, make 3 slashes diagonally across the top of each loaf.
Mist the loaves with water.
Preheat oven to 400oF.
When oven is hot, mist the loaves with water a second time, then place cookie sheet on rack in middle of oven above the water.
Bake until crust is medium dark brown, about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet.
*This bread works equally well with either white flour or 100% whole wheat flour, however, when using whole wheat flour, the taste of the sourdough is significantly reduced. If you want a good sourdough “zing” try either white flour or half and half.