Doesn’t that sound good? No? Well, it is. In fact, it’s quite possibly the best bread I’ve ever eaten. Buckle up, folks--the Bizarre Bread Baker (as I shall refer to myself throughout this blog) has arrived.
Mammicita recently acquired a sourdough starter from a coworker, and since then we’ve been baking bread like crazy. We’ve gone from the typical, plain sourdough recipe to alterations like apple walnut bread and monkey bread. Even though those variations are delicious, the one I’ve documented here for you, my dear readers, is definitely my favorite (so far).
It all begins with the starter, which I have dubbed Ebenezer (because he’s sour—get it?). He’s much like me in that he must be fed before he’ll do his job. So to feed him, this is what you need:
You mix together ½ c sugar, 3 T potato flakes, and 1 c warm water. Yes, potato flakes—unexpected, but essential. Don’t ask me why, it just what Ebenezer craves. (Maybe I should nickname him Tater...) This mixture drops in on ol’ Eb (i.e. the jar of starter, for those of you not following my train of thought) and sits on the counter for around 8 hours. Hmm. Ebenezer eats for 8 hours. What a porker.
After 8 hours, or the time of the Bizarre Bread Baker’s beauty sleep, Ebenezer is cut off.
Here is the cast of characters:
In a large non-metal bowl (apparently Ebenezer is allergic to metal), you combine ½ c oil, 1 c Ebenezer, 1 t salt, 1 ½ c warm water, ½ c sugar, 5 c bread flour, 1 c whole-wheat flour, and 3 T wheat germ.
For my tastes, 5:1 is a good ratio of bread flour to whole-wheat flour. Also, as your food lesson for the day, wheat germ is a very small part of the wheat kernel that's very high in protein--it has more protein than most meat products. Further, it contains 23 nutrients, which is more per ounce than any other vegetable or grain. In other words, it's good stuff.
So, stir everything together, adding more bread flour as necessary to create dough that's no longer sticky.
Transfer the dough into a second non-metal greased bowl. I had to resort to using my trifle bowl.
Roll it around so the entire ball becomes glorious (that’s for you, Big Brother), set it in a warm place, cover it with sprayed aluminum foil...
...and watch it grow. After about 3 hours, my dough already looked like this:
After a few more hours, the beast was outgrowing its bowl:
Apparently, the trifle bowl was not a stroke of genius. Ebenezer is a fierce and powerful monster.
After 12 hours, it was time to punish Ebenezer for his uprising (get it? boy, oh boy, I’m a riot). I did this by punching the dough once, right in its middle. Then I turned it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and kneaded it a few times.
The dough was then divided into three even hunks, which were each kneaded a bit more.
There are all kinds of pans you can use, but this time I put two of the blobs into greased loaf pans. The third piece got further divided into eight little nuggets and put into my silicone mini-loaf pan, also greased (just in case).
The pans go into the oven, get covered with foil, and are left to rise again for around 8 hours (more sleeping time for the Bizarre Bread Baker). Just FYI, the pans are put into the oven to rise so they don’t have to be moved later and risk collapsing.
After the second rise...
...I removed the foil (I like a crusty top) and baked the dough at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Ebenezer, ya done good.
January 3, 2008
Labels: scrumptious sourdough