Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Unfed Sourdough Starter French Bread


In an effort not to throw away starter that is fed with not inexpensive flour, plus an extreme disappointment in a loaf of sliced "sourdough" bread from a local grocer that shall remain unnamed, I went back to one of my most popular recipes.  Even gave it a little change up for the occasion.  I wanted to see how it would work with a little fresh ground whole grains added in, and it did not fail me.  I also used my new favorite method of inverting a roasting pan sprayed with water over the baking stone for the first 15 minutes.  The result was beautiful oven spring, thin, crispy crust, and beautiful color in the final bake.


Yeah, that poor loaf of store bought bread that called itself sourdough...  Oy vey.  The ingredient list was extensive; it tasted of chemicals and citric acid, not sourdough, and yet still managed to be bland and was without any texture.  Even toasting could not save it.  The compost bin got the honor of finishing off most of the loaf.  What a waste.  The kids though, were still clamoring for sourdough bread.  So I grabbed my starter which had been used recently but not recently enough for a full sourdough loaf, nor did I have time for that.  So I decided on a french unfed sourdough.  And I used 30% fresh ground whole grains this time as well.  Now, the loaf will probably turn out chewier with all white flour using this method, but it is still a delicious loaf with just a hint of sourdough tang.  I also added a couple teaspoons of oil, but since this promotes a less chewy texture, I would not recommend it unless you are looking for more of a sandwich bread texture.


(Recipe originally published June 14, 2010, updated pictures and flour options this week.  My starter was definitely more fresh this time and probably contributed to a larger oven spring.  The fresh ground flours and sprouted grains make the dough more likely to spread a bit more than an all white flour loaf.)

Sourdough French Bread with Unfed Starter
Makes one loaf

½ cup (4 ¼ oz) (120.5g) sourdough starter, fed or unfed
¾ cup (6 oz) (170g) lukewarm water
1¼ tsp (7g) sea salt
1 tsp (5g) sugar
1 tsp (3.15g) Instant Yeast
2 ½ cups (300g) all purpose flour (This time I used 200g all purpose, 40g fresh ground spelt, 60g fresh ground sprouted kamut)

Combine all ingredients. Knead by hand or machine to form a smooth, soft dough. Add a bit more flour if needed, (older, "soupy" starter may require a couple extra tablespoons of flour).  Cover and let rise until until doubled, around 90 minutes. Shape into an oval or oblong loaf. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet or a parchment lined peel. Cover and let rise until quite puffy, around 60 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Have the top of a roasting pan ready and spray the inside with water.  Slash the top of the loaf and place on a baking stone or sheet pan in a preheated 425ºF oven.  Immediately cover the loaf with the roast pan lid and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake for another 10-12 minutes until the loaf is golden brown.  Remove the loaf from the oven and cool on a rack as long as you can stand it.  Crust will be the crispiest the day it is baked.  Afterwards, store in a sealed bag or freeze, sliced or whole.



Always nice to have a great loaf of bread with minimal ingredients and never more fresh than when you make it yourself!




Approximate nutrition for one slice of bread:

15 comments:

  1. I love using unfed starter in bread to add to the flavor!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have had a starter for a month lol... not sure when I fed it last, how long will it stay good for? could I still use it for this ? thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it has been in the fridge, it may still be good. A young starter is more likely to fail sooner than a well established starter. But pour off any hooch on top, scrape the top discolored layer off and get down to a nice color, then if it smells good, go ahead and try it and then give it a feed! Twice a day at room temperature for a few days until it is quite happy again and then it can go back in the refrigerator. An unfed starter left at room temperature will die within a few days to a week I would guess, depending on ambient temperature.

      Delete
  3. Hi! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am VERY new at sourdough and bread making. I am just making y second try at sourdough starter & really hate to throw any out while feeding!
    I do not have instant yeast. Can I use active dry yeast? Like, put it in the warm water with the sugar & then add the rest of the ingredients?
    Thank you
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Just activate it with about half the water and the sugar for 5-10 minutes, until it is foamy. Then proceed with adding the rest of the ingredients. I do have other recipes for unfed starter and discard over in the unfed starter label. We love waffles and muffins for that purpose. Cultures for Health also has a fantastic sour cream sourdough waffle recipe that is super light and crispy.
      Sourdough Sour Cream Waffles

      Delete
  4. Can I use the unfed started cold or does it need to come to room temp?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can use it straight from the fridge, no problem. The colder the dough, the longer it may take to rise, but this will only add flavor as well and shouldn't add a significant amount of time.

      Delete
  5. Kelly! This bread is amazing!! My husband & I both love it. Thank you for the recipe ❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I am so thrilled to hear that! It's one I like to make to perk up my starter when it's sleepy or for a quicker sourdough sandwich loaf than my favorite full sourdough option. Good luck with your continued sourdough adventures!

      Delete
  6. my dough is very stiff after the machine kneading, can I add some more water and knead again?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see your comment came in this morning so I hope you were able to do that! It sometimes takes a little bit to get the extra water mixed in, but it will eventually loosen up and become a cohesive dough again. If you measure by volume and not weight, it might be good to mix in only 2/3 of the flour first and then little by little. I tend to have a heavier weight per cup by volume than you would get just going by weights.

      Delete
  7. Hi am new to sourdough baking. Bread turns out sour.
    Can you help me on how to get sweeter bread

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are a few things you can do to help sourdough not be so sour.
      • One is to feed your starter regularly or to give it a couple days of feeding twice a day before baking if you usually keep it in the fridge. This will give the yeast plenty of food and make them more active than the lactic acid producing bacteria in the starter. More yeast = a quicker rise = less time to produce lactic acid and sour the bread.
      • Next, if your starter gets hooch on top, (that layer of liquid), pour it off, don't stir it in. It holds a lots of the lactic acid sourness.
      • Shorter rising times leave less time for sour flavor to develop. Spiking with a little yeast can help speed up the process. (This recipe will be much less sour with ripe, fed starter because of the yeast.)
      • Let the dough rise in a cool area - more acid is produced at the warmer temperatures that lactobacillus love.
      • Use a larger proportion of starter - more starter = more yeast = shorter rise time = less sour.
      • And finally, you can add a little baking soda to neutralize the acid and it will act both to sweeten the dough and boost the rise.

      Delete
  8. I wish my loaf would raise more and look bigger and more fluffy like yours-it looks great through most of the process it just doesn’t raise as much in the oven-it tastes great and the texture is good-it’s just not as pretty :/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm, you might try letting it rise for 10-15 minutes less than you usually do to see if you are over-proving the dough. The other thing that can help is the formation of the loaf to really get a strong "gluten cloak" formed on the outside. So a number of folds to make the skin on the outside taut, without tearing it, can help yield a perkier loaf. I'm glad it tastes great though, and form comes with lots of practice. I still have flatter loaves on occasion!

      Delete

Thanks for commenting, I love hearing from you! If you have any questions I will do my level best to answer them for you.