For the last several years I've been dreaming of owning and caring for my very own sourdough starter. I knew they were possible to buy, but I just never went out and bought one. A couple of months ago I decided that I was going to do it. So I contacted one of my favorite local bakeries (which sells the most wonderful San Francisco sourdough) if they were willing to sell me some of their starter. And what do you know, they were! So I've had the starter for a while now, not quite sure what to do with it, hoping I would be able to keep it alive. So far so good. Hopefully it's not going to suddenly die on me. I threw together this bread on a whim last week, and it turned out quite well, I was pleased. For my first attempt at homemade sourdough I was happy. I plan on working with it more in the future to see what I will be able to make. With this as a start, I am very hopeful about the future!
Rustic Sourdough Bread
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups All-Purpose Flour
Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.