Sunday, April 26, 2009

San Francisco Sourdough French Bread

Here is a great recipe for San Francisco Sourdough French Bread. Actually, the starter is a modified Friendship Bread starter. The starter looks sweet, but it really is not over-powering and obnoxious, as in Southern Sweet Tea.

San Francisco Sourdough French Bread

1½ c warm Water
1 c Sourdough Starter (Recipe below)
4 c Bread Flour
3 t Sugar
1½ t Sea Salt
2 to 2½ more cups of Bread Flour
½ to 1 t Baking Soda

Combine water, starter, 4 cups flour, sugar and salt in a glass bowl. Mix well, cover lightly with a towel folded into several thicknesses, and let stand at room temperature for approximately 18 to 24 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Mix 1 cup of the remaining flour with ½ teaspoon of the baking soda and stir this into the risen dough until it is very stiff. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead approximately 1 more cup of flour and a little more baking soda into it. Knead it for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Shape into 2 long loaves or 1 large round loaf, place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let stand in a warm place for 3 to 4 hours or until almost doubled in size. You may wish to sprinkle cornmeal on the greased baking sheet or line it with kitchen parchment before placing the bread on it. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make a wash, bring 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1/3 cup water to a boil in a small pan over low heat. Stir until it becomes thick and clear. Brush each loaf with it. OR brush a little water on top of the loaves and make a few diagonal slits across the top with a sharp knife. For a crustier bread, place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the crust is a medium dark brown - 190°F.

Sourdough Starter

1 c All-Purpose Flour
1 c Whole Milk
1 T Active Dry Yeast
1 c Sugar
Bring the milk to room temperature. Add the sugar and yeast and dissolve. Let bloom.
Mix Starter Ingredients in a non-metalic bowl and let stand at room temperature – undisturbed – for 24 – 36 hours.

Next Day – Add
1 c All-Purpose Flour
1 c Sugar
1 c Whole Milk or Buttermilk
Place in a non-reactive bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and let set at room temperature for 7 days before using.

There you have it. Yes, it does take a little time for the starter, but if you keep replenishing it, it will keep for a very long time - Robin and I did have some, reportedly, from the Lewis and Clarke expedition. But try this bread and let us know how it came out for you. We think it's pretty good. Here is a Direct Link to the recipe. Cheers!

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