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This is a good, all-around Sourdough bread that is dairy free (if you use Refined Coconut Oil instead of Ghee). You could use it for sandwiches if you wanted too (we did for several months); it makes great toast and dipping bread (mix olive oil with organic ground black pepper and Real Salt…dip bread in and eat: yum!) This bread is not ideal for rolls but it does make good bread-sticks; if you want a glossy coat on your bread-sticks, you can immerse the dough rolls in boiling water until they float to the surface and then you may bake them. Not only do I love the versatility of this bread, but it is the easiest dough in the world to knead by hand (I’m guessing). The original recipe comes from a professional baking website that adds gluten and measures its ingredients by weight. I’ve simplified it here, adjusting for a larger loaf, and added in the benefit of my personal experience making this bread.
Combine ingredients. Let dough rest for 10 to 30 minutes. Knead for about 10 minutes (with a 5 minute rest in the middle) until dough passes window pane test . This bread has three rising periods, two in the mixing bowl and one in the loaf pan. It can take anywhere from 4-12 hours to complete the rising process, depending on the temperature of the rising environment and the yeast activity of the sourdough culture.
- 2.5 cups (375 g) Organic Whole Wheat Flour + 1/2 cup to knead
- 1 cup (245 g) Sourdough Starter
- 1 cup (220 g) Filtered Water (no chlorine DBPs or fluoride)
- 3 TBSP (40 g) Refined Coconut Oil or Ghee + extra to coat dough and loaf tin
- 2 TBSP (40 g) Honey
- 1.5 tsp Real Salt
- Mixing bowl and spoon
- Dinner spoon for scooping flour into measuring cups
- Dough scraper (optional: I use the pumpkin scraper from an old Jack-O-Lantern kit!)
- Measures: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1 TBSP, 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp
- Loaf tin
- Plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel
- Meat thermometer
- Parchment paper (optional)
- Mix the liquid ingredients and salt in the bowl first; add flour next. If your previous loaf turned out too dense (see Sourdough Help), add a measure of flour at a time until you get a wet and workable dough. Remember to measure flour by scooping flour with a dinner spoon, pouring the flour into the measuring cup, and leveling with the spoon handle.
- Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes (10 minutes to 30 minutes is fine; the flour will absorb the water making it easier to knead) in the mixing bowl, covered by plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel
- Lightly flour the kneading surface (don’t use all the flour set aside for kneading at once); remove dough from the mixing bowl and knead on the lightly floured surface, adding flour as necessary. This dough is sticky, but not super-wet. Knead for 5 minutes.
- To knead by hand: I like to push the dough forward with both hands, use my dominant hand to fold the dough in half and pull it back toward me, and then push forward again with both hands. You can get a nice rhythm this way!
- If your dough is particularly sticky (needs more flour: sprinkle more on the kneading surface), pulling the dough with the dominant hand in an S-pattern will accomplish a fold. I’ve even used a dough scraper to help me do that with other, wetter doughs.
- Let the dough rest for five minutes; knead again for another five minutes. Pass the “windowpane” test.
- Windowpane test: pull off a chunk of dough (there should be some resistance to pulling it off) and stretch it taught with your fingers to see if it will become thin enough to let light through without breaking.
- If the dough breaks, let it rest for another 5 minutes and knead it again. Keep kneading and performing the test until you have a stretchy dough that passes the windowpane test.
- If you have a mixer with dough hooks, feel free to use it until the dough passes the windowpane test.
- Put extra Coconut oil or Ghee in the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball by folding the sides underneath until the top surface of the dough is taught; place it upside-down in the oiled bowl to coat the top and sides and flip it over so the bottom is coated too. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or a damp paper towel. Let it rise for 2-6 hours.
- For a faster rise, place it in the oven with the light (or pilot light) on. 78F is a warm temperature for sourdough to rise.
- For a longer, more nutritious rise, leave on the counter at a room temperature around 72F.
- If you made your dough too late in the day to bake, you can put it in the ‘fridge to rise the next morning; give it a couple hours to come to room temperature before progressing.
- When the dough has doubled in size, you can try two methods of trapping the gas bubbles created by the yeast (see options below). After reshaping the dough, add a little extra oil or Ghee to the bowl; re-coat the dough and cover as before to rise.
- FIRST OPTION: Depress the dough gently and fold sides under to make a new ball.
- SECOND OPTION: re-knead the dough briefly and form a new ball.
- Repeat step 6 but place the re-shaped ball in a bread pan greased with oil, ghee, or lined with parchment paper. (Each rise time is supposed to take half the time it did on the previous rise: if the first rise period took four hours, the second should take two hours and the final stage should take one hour. However, this rising profile better suits white flour starters; don’t be surprised if your whole wheat starter takes the same amount of time for each rise.)
- Bake the bread at 350F for 45 minutes. Every oven is different; my gas oven cooks a loaf of this bread at 325F for 45 minutes after the oven reaches temp (I put mine in the oven while it is preheating for additional rise; this probably shortens the baking time). The inside of the bread should measure 190 to 200F when completely cooked; use a meat thermometer to help determine cooking time. If the crust is too dark, cook at a lower temperature for longer next time.
- Let loaf rest in pan for 5 minutes after removing from the oven. Remove loaf from pan and let the loaf rest for 15 minutes. After this you can slice and enjoy!