Sourdough French Bread

sourdough bread in a perforated french mold

© 2011 by KV5R — Rev. Feb. 27, 2011.

I ordered and received a sixteen-inch, two-loaf, perforated French bread pan. It’s an inexpensive model, about $14, made of non-stick coated aluminum, and quite easy to bend. I decided it was time to make a couple of proper sourdough breads, eat one and give the other away.

I studied up on baker’s percentages and weighed my ingredients this time. I don’t know what I miscalculated, but the water was far too much and I had to add a good bit of flour to get the dough to the right moisture level. The recipe below is about what I think I ended up with, so son’t expect it be perfect without some adjustment.

Note: “Poolish” is the term for sourdough starter when it is 1:1 (by weight) of flour and water. A poolish starter will pour like a thick batter. Keeping the starter fed at 1:1 makes it fairly easy to mix and pour, but it also makes it easy to know the moisture content that the starter is adding to the recipe. For example, a cup of poolish is gonna add ½ cup of water, which must be subtracted from yeast recipes started with poolish.

Recipe

750 grams bread flour (~6¼ loose cups)
450 grams warm water (~2 cups, scant)
265 grams poolish sourdough starter (1 cup)
2   tsp   sea salt
1   tsp   coriander
1   tsp   garlic
1   tsp   oregano
2   Tbs   honey
1   Tbs   coconut oil (for the mixing/proofing pan)

Mix dry ingredients with flour. Mix sourdough and honey with water.
Mix well. Adjust flour/water, if needed, to reach desired dough consistency.
Knead for 5 minutes. Form into a ball and place in a sprayed proofing pan.
Cover with plastic and let rise for 12 hours.
Removed and punch down. Divide into 2 equal parts and form into logs suitable to the French bread mold.
Bake uncovered at 450°F for 45-50 minutes. Remove and cool.
Makes 2 1½ lb. Sourdough French loaves (16 inches long).
Hand-break into chunks and enjoy!

Photos

4 metal cans that look like wood; 1 french bread mold.
I needed some canisters but, being cheap, I just made labels for some #10 cans instead.
Standing atop them is the 16-inch perforated French bread pan.

Flour in bowl on scale.
I weighed some flour (not enough)…

Pouring poolish sourdough starter into bowl on scale.
and some poolish…

Adding water to bowl on scale.
and some water (too much).

Three pound ball of dough in large mixing bowl, covered.
Then mixed, kneaded, and put it back in the bowl to rise.
Not shown: during the mixing and kneading I had to add about a cup more flour.

The ball of dough is now much larger.
Here it is afer 12 hours.

Dough divided in two parts.
Divide it…

Dough formed into two logs.
Form it…

Dough logs in the French bread mold.
Get it in the mold…

Dough is now larger, filling the mold.
Let it rise again (’til it nearly runs over the mold)…

Baked bread with a crispy golden top.
Bake it…

One bread broken in half, showing insides.
Break it…

Chunks of bread dipped in some picante salsa.
Eat it with salsa! Or heat a saucer of olive oil and oregano! Yum!

Notes

  1. The crust and crumb textures were very nice. Crispy on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside.
  2. The taste was excellent—but what do I know? The “sour” aspect was pronounced at first bite, and after swallowing, but sort of sweet while chewing. Sort of a 1-2-3 flavor effect. I liked it.
  3. I don’t seem to be able to get the moisture just right—all my doughs thus far have been too soft.

So there you have it! My second sourdough. Please stay tuned for more bread baking adventures in the coming weeks.

Thanks for stopping by! —kv5r

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