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THE ARTISANS

Handcrafted Artisanal Sourdough Bread

45 minutes. Cook
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Introduction:
Sourdough bread, with its crisp crust and tangy crumb, has graced tables for centuries. This handcrafted artisanal sourdough bread recipe will guide you through the process of creating this culinary masterpiece right in your own kitchen. Before we dive into the details, let’s take a brief look at the history of sourdough, a time-tested tradition that continues to delight bread enthusiasts worldwide.

Historical Context: Sourdough breadmaking can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where the process of naturally fermenting dough with wild yeast and bacteria was discovered by chance. This unique method of leavening bread quickly spread across Europe, becoming a staple in many cultures. During the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, sourdough bread gained popularity as miners cherished its long shelf life and distinct flavor. Today, artisanal bakers worldwide celebrate this age-old technique, combining tradition with innovation to create exceptional loaves.

Preparation:

1. Prepare Your Starter:

  • Ensure your sourdough starter is active and bubbly. If not, feed it a few hours before starting the bread-making process.

2. Mix the Dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour and salt.
  • Add the lukewarm water and active sourdough starter to the dry ingredients.
  • Stir until a shaggy dough forms.

3. Bulk Fermentation:

  • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Perform a series of stretch-and-folds every 30 minutes for the next 2-3 hours. This strengthens the dough.
  • Afterward, let the dough rest for 8-12 hours (overnight) at room temperature. This extended fermentation develops flavor and structure.

4. Shape the Dough:

  • Gently turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Shape it into a round by folding the edges towards the center.
  • Place the dough seam-side down in a floured proofing basket or on a kitchen towel.

5. Final Proofing:

  • Cover the dough with the kitchen towel and allow it to proof for 1-2 hours, or until it’s visibly puffy.

6. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with a Dutch oven or baking stone inside. This ensures your bread bakes on a hot surface.

7. Score and Bake:

  • Carefully flip the dough into the preheated Dutch oven or onto the hot baking stone lined with parchment paper.
  • Use a razor blade or sharp knife to make a decorative score on the bread’s surface.
  • Cover with the Dutch oven lid or a large oven-safe pot for the first 20 minutes of baking to trap steam and create a crispy crust.
  • Remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

8. Cool and Enjoy:

  • Transfer the freshly baked sourdough bread to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Allow it to cool for at least an hour before slicing. This ensures the best texture and flavor.

Conclusion: There you have it—an exquisite handcrafted artisanal sourdough bread that transports you back to the roots of breadmaking. This recipe may take some time, but the result is well worth the effort. The combination of history, tradition, and the unique flavors of your sourdough starter will make every bite a memorable experience. Share it with friends and family, and savor the pride that comes with creating such a remarkable loaf from scratch. Happy baking!

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staffcontributor
prep time
15 minutes.
cooking time
45 minutes.
servings
1 loaf
total time
10-24 hours.

Equipment

  • Larrge mixing bowl

  • Kitchen scale

  • Dough scraper

  • Clean kitchen towel or proofing basket

  • Dutch oven or baking stone

  • Parchment paper

  • Razor blade or sharp knife

  • Oven with a lid

Ingredients

  • 500g strong bread flour

  • 350g lukewarm water

  • 200g active sourdough starter

  • 10g salt

Instructions

1
Prepare your starter.
2
Mix the dough.
3
Perform bulk fermentation.
4
Shape and proof the dough.
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