Wednesday, May 18, 2011

San Francisco Sourdough French Bread and Sour Dough Starter

I don't remember how old I was when my father made his first sour dough starter.  The container with this mysterious liquid that bubbled was removed from the refrigerator almost every Friday afternoon for whatever my dad was in the mood to bake that weekend.  By the next morning, our home was filled with a delectable odor and we just couldn't wait to see what he was going to do with that phantom from the fridge.  We would ask him, "Dad what are you making this weekend?", he would grin and say, "It's a surprise."  We always knew we had something wonderful to look forward to.  We would hit the jackpot quite often when he would make biscuits for Sunday morning breakfast and one of his many sour dough bread recipes for Sunday dinner.

I found his sour dough starter recipe along with his San Francisco Sour Dough Bread recipe.  I looked online and found there are so many ways to make sour dough starter.  Some people even give their sour dough starters a name and some sour dough starters can range from the age of 20 to 100 years old!  Sour dough is just a whole other frequency for serious bakers.

This starter recipe is very easy especially for those of you who are afraid of yeast.  Give it a try, what have you got ot lose?

Sour Dough Starter:

2 cups AP flour
1 packet dry yeast
Warm water

Stir yeast into 2 cups of AP flour and add enough warm water to make a thick batter; stir only enough to break up the lumps. Let starter stand for 24-hours in a warm place or until house is filled with a delectable aroma.  Use a large plastic or glass container, never use a metal container.  Store in the refrigerator.  When used, replace by adding flour and water only.  Let stand in a warm place until it begins to bubble.  Before using, remove from refrigerator and put in warm place until active.

The starter will last for years when properly cared for.

San Francisco Sour Dough French Bread

1 Packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 cup Sour Dough Starter
5 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons salt

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle dry yeast over 1 cup of warm water.  Let the yeast dissolve for 5 minutes then stir in Sour Dough Starter.  Gradually add 4 cups of flour mixed with the salt, 1 cup at a time thoroughly  incorporating before adding the next cup of flour.  Cover the bowl with a damp clother and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Turn dough our onto a floured board and work in about 1 cup of flour until dough is no longer sticky, and then knead until satiny.  Shape dough into 1 large round or 2 long loaves.

Set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal and let rise again for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  Make diagonal slashes in bread with a sharp knife or razor blade so dough does not fall.

Put a shallow pan of water on the lower shelf of oven preheated to 400 degrees F.  Place bread in oven on upper shelf and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until crust is medium dark brown.  The water creates the humidity that gives this bread that special flavor.

About 10 minutes before bread is done, brush the loaves with ice water and continue with the remaining baking time.  The ice water gives the bread that extra crispy crust.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

This is the most awesome tasting bread!  I just knew this would be a flop but it wasn't, I could feel my dad right beside me the whole time.


John Roberts said...

Good memories of Dad's sourdough biscuits!

gigi said...

It seems as if I could smell this recipe as I was reading the post. Smelled good. said...

I have a starter that I've had for about 10 years. I love San Francisco Sourdough - can't wait to try this!! It will be much cheaper that flying out there for some good sourdough.

Big Dude said...

Good looking bread Katherine.

The Japanese Redneck said...

Wow, nice.

I remember when my Mom took to making homemade bread. Ah, the smell....

Frieda Loves Bread said...

Very nice! great color!

teresa said...

oh this is wonderful, i just adore sourdough!