How an Unfortunate Event Led to Incredible Sourdough

If only you were in my kitchen when this bread emerged from my oven. If you could have just smelled the twangy aromas of this bread, you might just understand how delightful it really is. The strange thing about this dough is that it sat on my counter for 48 hours. I mixed and kneaded the dough Saturday afternoon, let it double in bulk once, and put in the fridge to bake the next morning. But the next morning I received a call that I should head over to my sister’s home to watch her 2 young girlies because she was having a difficult morning. My big sister is sadly battling a never ending fight against cancer. I threw a few things into an overnight bag and was on my way. Much to my dismay, my sister had to return to the hospital that afternoon for something like her 8th time in the past few months. Luckily, I had a nice time with the girls eating junk food, enjoying the bizarre Montreal summer weather, and relaxing in a dark theater with a 3-D movie. Once they were sent off to school, I headed to the hospital to rehash yesterday’s events to Debbie. Although she had just gotten out of surgery, seeing how strong she is, is always uplifting. Only after a chatty visit, did I return home to see my dough sitting on my counter top. I figured there’s no harm in trying to bake it, there was nothing that could have spoiled in my dough. I had very low expectations. But what wonderful results I had. Out of my oven came a ludicrous sourdough. It has risen, cracked and smelled suspiciously what I assume a San Fransico bakery would smell like. The crumb is open, chewy, and full of sour flavor without being overwhelming. This is by far the best tasting sourdough I have ever made. And most exciting of all, I can’t wait to bring some in for Debbie to try tomorrow.

Ingredients (Yields 1 loaf)
105 g White Starter (100% hydration)
480 g White Flour
320 g Water
15 g Sugar
10 g Salt

First off, you need a fairly active sourdough starter for this bread to be successful. My next post will give instructions on how to create your own starter. I fed my starter about 6 hours before I used it in my dough and it was just starting to bubble. The manual labor involved in this bread is very minimal. I combined all ingredients in my stand mixer, and kneaded on low for 3 minutes. You should now check that your dough is the right consistency. It should not be shaggy, if you touch it it should not feel dry at all. This is a very wet and sticky dough. Add as much water as the dough will possibly take while still maintaining shape (a ball in your mixer). I accidently added just a little too much, and my dough became way too sticky, and reminded me of glue. I had to add about a tablespoon of flour to return it to the right consistency. It should form a ball around your dough hook. Continue kneading on medium (speed 4) for about 5-7 minutes. The dough should be elastic, if you pull a piece away from the ball, it should not rip off immediately. The dough ball should be smooth but tacky when touched. Prepare a greased bowl. Flour your hands before transferring the dough. Let dough rise for 2-3 hours, it should come close to doubling in bulk. Knock back dough, by dumping it onto the counter, and folding it on to itself 3 times. Return the dough to the bowl and place it in fridge for 24 hours. After 24 hours move the bowl to the counter so it can return to room temperature. The next day preheat the oven to 450F. Very carefully mold the dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet. Once the oven is very hot, bake for 25 minutes. Turning after 15. The tease of waiting 48 hours must be killing you. Let cool, and share with some special to you.

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