I did it! I did it!
I managed to make some bread. And man was it a chore. But it didn’t turn out half bad for my first ever bread. I mean first ever. I’ve never made any kind of bread before and started with sourdough. I might be a little crazy.
Here’s the rest of Michelle’s recipe:
To make 2 loaves of sourdough bread you’ll need:
1 cup of “fed” starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 cups bread or all purpose flour
2 1/2 TSP salt
Put the starter in your plastic lidded bowl and add 3 cups of flour and all of the water.
Let the dough rest for 3-4 hours at room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, add your remaining 2 cups of flour and knead to a soft dough
Put the lid back on your bowl and put the dough into the oven on “proof”*. Every hour, gently deflate the dough on a floured surface by stretching and folding the sides in over themselves, this adds elasticity and helps to strength the dough. It will double in size in 3-5 hours.
* if your oven does not have a proof setting, just put the dough in a draft free warm area to rise.￼
Divide the dough in half, shape into circles folding the sides under so the top is smooth, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise again, about 2 hours. They will be a little spread out – it’s fine, they will become more upright when they hit the heat of the baking pan.
About a half hour before the end of the first rise, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and place a heavy lidded pot (like ￼LeCreuset) on the rack. Preheat your oven to 475°
Once the oven is heated, take the pot out and remove the lid – it will be VERY HOT (like nearly 500° hot, so be mindful and deliberate).
Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and dust dough lightly with flour. Quickly place the the dough into the pot seam side down.
Cover the pot and return to oven for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove the lid. The bread may be chestnut brown, if it is, it’s finished. If not, leave the lid off and cook for a few more minutes.
Don’t overcook it. I’ve added 2 pictures, both are fine, one loaf is darker Than the other, but neither are burnt or undercooked. This is your range for brown-ness.
Repeat for loaf #2. No need to reheat the pot between loaves.
Let it cool on a wire rack at room temp and enjoy!
That’s a lot, so here’s what I did. Yesterday, I divided up the starter I had in my bowl, keeping one cup of it and added three cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups of warm water. I stirred it up until it was more dough-like then let it sit for a few hours before putting it in the fridge before I went to bed.
In the morning, I got it back out and tried to add two more cups of flour but, the dough just didn’t want to take anything else in it. I think I needed to let it warm up some. I also checked the recipe in my cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens). It had a whole lot more ingredients than what Michelle listed so I added some baking soda just in case.
I kneaded the dough for a while, but I’ve never done this before so I had no idea what it should look like, and the times my mom baked bread it was in a bread machine.
When I got bored with that, I put it back in the bowl and stuck it in our broken microwave with a pan of hot water to keep it warm.
I’m really not sure if it was warm enough in there or if the dough rose enough. It sure didn’t seem to double in size or anything. I did stretch and knead it every hour or so and replaced the hot water.
After four or so hours, I divided it up and made it into two balls and stuck them back in the microwave on a pan (without the hot water because it wouldn’t fit) for two hours.
Then it was time to bake and cook the pea soup. I don’t have a fancy, heavy pot like she mentions in the recipe, but I do have some heavy-duty Corningware casserole dishes with lids. I’m pretty sure they might have a 400F limit (I know my newer, lighter weight ones do), so I only heated the oven to 450F instead of 475F and hoped for the best.
I heated the dish while I prepped the soup then totally messed the dough up by squishing and playing with it until the top layer broke and it fell apart. Oops. I hurriedly tried to mash back into a ball shape that was smooth and stuck it in the hot dish and into the oven with the lid on as suggested.
I let it bake for about 20 minutes, I think, while the soup cooked then took the lid off for another five to really brown the crust. I immediately dumped it onto a wire rack and stuck the other ball in without playing with it this time.
Meanwhile, no one could resist the yummy looking, fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. It lasted five minutes before I cut into it. The inside was a little doughy still and pretty dense instead of light and full of little holes. I think this is partly because I fucked with it before putting it in which collapsed the bubbles. Lesson learned. It still tasted amazing. Not super sour since the starter is only a couple weeks old, but it was still so good.
The second one came out looking even more amazing and the inside was light and fluffy with a perfectly crunchy crust. It might have been slightly undercooked on the inside, but look at that… It’s beautiful.
The pea soup turned out good as well. I don’t think I need to post a recipe for it. Literally just 1lb of dry split peas, a bunch of ham cubes, half onion (chopped) and about 8 cups of water. Slowly simmer until the peas are mush. The end.
I think I’m hooked on this baking thing. I’m going to try again next weekend, although I might try the recipe in my cookbook to see if it makes a difference. Then again, this one tasted amazing so why change what ain’t broke, you know?