Christmas was very laid back this year, but I did find one small gift under the old tree. I got this very interesting dough rising basket called a brotform from Germany. After the first rise or proof you punch down the dough and place the ball in this well floured brotform for the final proofing. The dough rises around the brotform canes giving your bread a really cool design similar to a floury crop circle.
Today's mighty loaf is courtesy of my little pet, my sourdough starter. It's not too much work to keep a starter going but it does need attention about once a week. I just add a cup of flour and half a cup of warm britta water. I stir it up and check for bubbling action to ensure it's still alive. Next to my kombucha and fermenting sauerkraut crocks the sourdough jar is the best smelling of the bunch.
The bread recipe I used is the most basic sourdough recipe available from King Arthur Flour.
1 1/2 c Lukewarm water 5 1/2 c (to 6 1/2 cups) King Arthur 1 tb Sugar 1 tb Salt 1 tb (or packet) active dry yeast 1 tb Vegetable oil 1 c Sourdough starter
Combine all of the ingredients, using only 5 cups of the flour. I used a kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook attachment to knead this into a nice soft dough. I placed the dough in a greased bowl to rise for one hour. After an hour passed I punched the dough down and moved it to the brotform to rise for one more hour. Preheat the oven to 450f and bake for 20 min or until golden brown on a pizza stone.
The loaf had a nice crust and a very soft interior crumb. Normally I prefer to use only sourdough starter instead of the dry yeast/starter combo. Sure, the rise will take much longer but it produces a much stronger sour fermented flavored loaf.
Can't complain, this is my best looking and tasting loaf to date. Maybe I can pass my bread off as an artisan loaf now.