Sourdough baking requires time. The starter needs to be fed and then given 8 or more hours to rest and mature. The bread itself takes about five hours to prepare, proof and bake. It's not difficult to do and there is leeway in the proofing times, you just need to prepare yourself for a process that can't be rushed. I baked this during a snow storm in January, 2018, it was a very good snowy day project. It yields a bread with a wonderful crust and moist crumb. The flavor is a bit salty with a complex cereal flavor.
This bread is worth the trouble if you like working with sour dough bread. The dough does have a bit of commercial yeast, which helps the process move along.
The evening before you plan to bake. Refresh your starter, allow to rest and proof for 8-12 hours at room temperature. When ripe, measure off 12 oz for baking.
On the day you bake, mix the dough. Allow to rise in a warm location for about 90 minutes. Add the olives and artichokes, mix , and allow to further proof for about an 30 - 45 minutes. The dough will remain loose and sticky.
On a flour dusted work surface, stretch and fold the dough 6-8 times. Divide into four portions. Shape into rounds and proof for about an hour. Slash top of each loaf and bake in a hot oven. Cool completely before slicing.
For a good demonstration on the stretch and fold technique see Peter Reinhart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1timJlCT3PM
12 oz fed and ready sour dough starter (fed and rested 8-12 hours)
2 iz warm water mixed with
1/2 tsp instant yeast
8 oz room temperature water
4 oz grain mixture (e.g. six grain mix, ancient grain mix, 10 grain cereals)
for the bread pictured, I used King Arthur six grain mixture
13-14 oz all purpose flour
1 Tbsp kosher salt
4 oz roughly chopped kalamanta olives
6 oz roughly chopped canned artichoke hearts
cornmeal for sprinkling baking surface
- Feed your starter and set aside at room temperature (around 75 or 80 degrees if you can arrange this). Let rest for 8- 12 hours or overnight.
- When the sourdough starter is ready, measure 12 oz and place in a bowl with 8oz water. Mix.
- Mix the yeast and 2 oz water and add to the starter. Mix well and allow to rest for approximately 10 minutes.
- Combine the flours and salt. Mix. Add starter and begin to mix at slow speed. Increase to medium speed and knead for approximately 4-5 minutes. The dough will be on the soft side and sticky, but it will pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a dough ball.
- Cover and proof the dough for approximately 90 minutes. The dough will not quite double in bulk.
- While the dough is proofing, roughly chop the olives and artichoke hearts. Set aside until the dough has proofed.
- Add the olives and artichokes to the dough. Mix well. The dough will become a bit raggy and sticky. Cover and allow to rise for about 30 minutes. It will increase in volume, but not double.
- Sprinkle flour on a work surface. Place dough on the surface and rather than knead, you'll stretch and fold 6-8 times. The dough will begin to hold it's shape and become stretchy. See link above for Peter Reinhart's tutorial on the stretch and knead technique.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into quarters. Stretch and fold to form 4 small balls of dough.
- Allow to proof in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until almost doubled. Your oven can be heated to 100 degrees and then shut off or if you have a proofing cycle or a proofing box, these are good options. Wild yeast is more sensitive than commercial yeast to ambient temperature - your dough won't rise well if you place it in a spot that is too chilly or drafty.
- You can bake these breads on a parchment lined baking sheet or a lined ceramic baking slab.
- About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and slip a pan of water onto the bottom shelf. A hot, humid oven is key to baking a crispy crust.
- Slip the bread into the hot oven, lower the temperature to 400 and bake for about 35 minutes. Check for doneness, the crust should be golden brown and on the darker side and the outer dough will be hard , crisp and sound hollow when tapped. You can take the temperature of the baking bread - you want the thermometer to register between 190 and 195 degrees. If you plan to cool, wrap and freeze the bread for a later use, 190 degrees is fine. This will allow you to defrost and re-heat the bread.
Cool completely before cutting into this bread - the inside will be gummy if the dough is hot.
The bread slices nicely when fully cooled. You can store , covered loosely in a bag for a couple of days; otherwise, double wrap and freeze for up to a month. Always remove from wrappings before defrosting.Another bread that I have on the blog that uses a starter is Korn Bread (Kornbroyt), a delicious type of rye bread.