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
1 tsp (5g) 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:

1 comment:

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


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