like a bakery

I baked for a fundraiser on thursday and friday. I managed somehow to produce 6 loaves of bread, 2 pizza shells and about 20 blueberry muffins.

I only made sourdough. I overproduced on the starter, so I had to keep on baking in order to use it up.

the first up was the english muffin bread. I’ve made it before without sourdough and really love it, so I mixed up a batch with my starter and away we went. the process couldn’t be easier, you dump all the ingredients in the bowl and mix it up, let it rise, add one more ingredient and mix, dump into greased loaf pans, rise and then bake. really, how much easier could it be. no kneading. one bowl. not even any measuring cups/spoons because its all by weight. here’s a shot of the batter after rising:
sourdough english muffin bread, all alive after 1st rise
it looks kinda scary and bubbly. Like it might take over the kitchen if allowed. I guess if the bowl isn’t big enough, it might!

then I got to work on the “deluxe sourdough bread” its a more traditional bread recipe that involves kneading. the thing I learned with this recipe is that when it says to “let the dough rest” they mean it. I had never really done that before. so it rested, and it became the most silky beautiful dough I’ve ever seen. when I shaped it, it stayed where I put it. the gluten had relaxed enough not to fight with me. I couldn’t believe it! Here’s a shot of that beautiful dough after resting:
kneaded and rested sourdough
and here’s a picture of it shaped:
2 loaves of bread, about to go into the frdige for 'retarding'
then you put it in the fridge and let it stay there overnight. take it out in the morning, let it rise and then bake it. here it is all fresh from the oven:
my first real sourdough

I kept one for myself, and it was GOOD. David thought it was quite sour, but I’m not sure.

here are the recipes:

Sourdough English Muffin Bread (from Mike Avery, of Sourdough Home)

Grams Volume
Ingredient Baker’s
550 4 1/2 cups sifted Unbleached All-purpose Flour 100
23 4 tsp Salt 4.12
32 5 1/3 tsp Sugar 5.88
54 1/2 cup Dehydrated Milk Powder 9.8
390 1 2/3 cups water 71
540 2 cups active sourdough Culture 98
.5 1/4 tsp Baking Soda, dissolved in 2 TBSP water .6

Method: Put the flour, milk powder, salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the water and sourdough starter. Stir well.

Mixing the ingredients The idea is to stir this until it is smooth, and to develop gluten in the dough through stirring. Gluten is a stringy protein that gives bread its structure. It is a major protein in wheat flour. The dough comes together as you stir it. The stirring process helps align the gluten. As you stir, you’ll see strands begin to form. This stirring technique is used in many Italian breads, because Italian flours have a lot less protein than American flours. Stirring helps combine ingredients and get the dough ready for kneading.

The Rise Once the dough is well stirred, which should only take a few minutes, it’s time to cover it and let rise until doubled in size. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour to an hour and a half, depending on your starter and the temperature in your kitchen. During this time, the rise will help further develop the gluten.

Adding the soda Once the dough has doubled in size, it’s time to add add the baking soda dissolved in water. Stir the dough to deflate it and mix in the baking soda and water. As you stir the dough down you’ll again see the gluten strands. They’ll stick to the side of the bowl and your spoon. You want the dough to be small and smooth again.

Loafin’ Once the dough is smooth, it’s time to pour it into greased bread pans. Pour equal amounts of the dough into two or three oiled bread pans. Once the dough is in the pans, smooth the surface of the dough, either with a spatula or floured hands. The dough is quite sticky. As soon as you get the dough out of the mixing and rising bowl, fill the bowl with water – it will make cleanup a lot easier! Once again, cover the bread pan and allow the bread to rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, which should take about an hour or so minutes or so.

Preparing for the bake About 40 minutes into this rise, start pre-heating the oven. That is, turn it on and set the oven temperature to 375F. Once the rise is complete, and the oven is at the correct temperature, put the loaves of bread into the oven to bake.

The end game Check the loaf about 25 minutes later. You want a nicely browned loaf. The baked loaf should have begun to pull away from the edges of the bread pan. This bread is intended to be toasted, so you may not want it to brown as much as most loaves. When you think the loaf is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack and in the pan for 5 minutes or so. Then gently remove the loaves from their pans and let them cool completely on the rack. This is a very fragile bread, so be careful or you could tear it up!

Enjoy! Once it’s cool, slice it into 1/2 inch slices, toast, and enjoy!


Deluxe Sourdough Bread (from the fresh loaf)

1 1/4 cups proofed starter
1 cup water
3 T. dry powdered milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T. sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
2 tsp. salt

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the flour just until the mixture is a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt and mix until all is incorporated. Knead dough until it is smooth and satiny.

Cover and let dough rest for 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each dough portion out into a large, flat circle. Gently stretch and fold the left side over the middle, then the right side over the middle (like folding a letter). Pat down with the palms of hands and repeat the folding with the remaining two unfolded ends. Shape loaves, always keeping the folded side as the bottom. I do free-form oval loaves and place them on parchment paper.

Spray the loaves with Pam and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take loaves out and let them finish rising at room temperature. They should be very light. Do not rush it or your bread will be dense.

While bread is rising, preheat oven and stone to 400� F. I also place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack for steam.

When bread is fully risen, slash top and slide onto hot stone. If you don’t have a stone, just bake on a baking sheet. After 10 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 375� F. When loaves start to show color, water pan can be removed. Bake until loaves are a nice golden brown. Time will vary according to the shape and size of loaf.

Cool on a wire rack. You can brush crust with butter while still hot if you like a soft crust.

The small addtion of white whole wheat flour that I use in this bread gives it an interesting depth of flavor that I like. It does not change the color of the bread. I don’t know if white whole wheat flour is easily available just anywhere. I am fortunate to live in an area where wheat is grown and milled so I have easy access to various flours.

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