I don’t know about you, but the smell of fresh baked bread – particularly sourdough – is one of the most home comforting there is to me.
Making bread with our little baby boy Nathan was certainly going to be a challenge I thought, but thank goodness for the flexibility of my sourdough recipe! Fresh sourdough is once again on the menu.
I make sandwich style loaves. For everyday home use the sandwich ones last longer and fit our sandwich containers, so I like to do those instead of a round loaf which you can make in a dutch oven or on a baking stone in your oven for a beautiful crusty loaf.
The crust on the sandwich loaf is still decent but I as a Baker / Pastry Chef have a large place in my heart with lovely dark crusty loaves. Perhaps when my wood oven is made (wink, wink) I will once again resume exploring different breads at home. I think it will be sooner than later though, as I have more opportunity being off work for now. Plus, I gotta let those creative juices flow still, right?
I had my work as an outlet but I’ll have to do the experimenting at home instead; My lucky family and lucky you, as I am sure I’ll be sharing my adventures in baking on here as well with some of our favourite recipes.
I’ve priced this recipe out and, using organic flour and 7 grains, it comes to a whopping $3.77 for the whole recipe. That’s just a 1.90 (rounded up) for each loaf! Talk about a great way to eat good and save money in the process. The smell of fresh baked bread in the house is certainly a perk too, one that I never tire of!
Farmhouse White Sourdough Bread
750g – 800g Warm Water
1000g Organic White Bread Flour
25g Fine Sea Salt
50g Flax Seeds
100g 7 Grain Cereal Mix (I use an organic one)
200g Warm Water
In a large bread bowl, pour in 750g – 800g of the warm water. Add the starter, stir to blend with the water and then add the flour, stir to moisten all the flour and combine, I like using the end of a wooden spoon for this; Cover this with a kitchen towel and let sit for at least 50 minutes – 1 hour.
Combine the 200g warm water, sea salt, flax seeds, and 7 Grain Cereal in a small bowl, stirring with your finger or chopstick to blend as much as you can. Let this sit for the 50 minutes – 1 hour as well, stirring in between.
Add to the large bread bowl and, with moistened hands, fold the dough in on itself to incorporate as much of the inclusions as you can and start to build the gluten. Do this until you feel resistance and the dough tighten as you pull but not tear; Usually this is after folding in a full 360 turn. Let this sit for 40 minutes covered by the towel.
Do another set of folds in one full 360 turn or until you feel resistance, let sit another 40-50 minutes covered by the towel. Repeat this step 2 or so more times, or until you feel the dough has developed enough gluten to hold form, usually at this stage it is harder to do the folds through the whole 360 due to resistance. The rest timing is flexible as the sourdough will hold, though the best results do seem to come from following the timeline. The longer you let the dough rise between folds, the more you release the hard earned CO2 that the little yeasts are producing for you, giving you potentially less of a rise.
Let sit 10 minutes after your last folds to relax a little. During this time prep your pans; Butter and dust with flour two sandwich loaf pans. Turn the dough onto a well floured work surface, make sure it isn’t sticking. Divide the dough into two parts. Shape each into a rectangle and set aside on a lightly floured surface, cover with the towel letting them rest for another 10 minutes.
Reshape the dough into their final sandwich loaf shape and place into the prepped pans seam-side down. At this stage I like to retard one loaf so i lightly dust extra flour on the surface, cover loosely with cling wrap and top it all with a lightly moistened towel. Place this one into the fridge to hold for 2-3 days. The other one I cover loosely with the towel and let it sit on the counter approx. 3 or so hours to proof. To tell wether it’s ready you can poke the proofed loaf with your finger – if it springs back quite quickly let it sit a little longer.
20 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350-375 F. Put the proofed dough into the oven and set a timer to 35-45 minutes. Check to ensure doneness either by checking the internal temperature (you want it to be 212 F /100C), or remove bread from the pan and knock on the bottom, if sounding hollow it’s done.
Let sit in bread pan for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on an elevated wire rack to ensure air flow underneath. Store well wrapped either in cling wrap or in a ziplock bag is what I find works best. It is possible to keep wrapped in a tea towel for one day or overnight if need be too.
These loaves do freeze well when wrapped thoroughly, though I do find that through this process it does dry out a little bit, which is why I prefer to retard the second loaf instead of baking it right away. Gives fresh bread a better chance!