Today is the twelfth day of Christmas and it’s been eight days since my daughter gifted her sourdough starter to me when she returned to Seattle. I fed the starter late last weekend and set it out from the fridge yesterday morning to warm up to room temperature so I could feed it again in anticipation of baking sourdough bread today. Very early this morning, I checked the started to see how ripe (or vigorous) it appeared and it was quite bubbly. So instead of feeding it again (to enhance its vitality), I reviewed the Basic Sourdough Bread recipe at King Arthur Flour that I had decided to try today to see what to do to prep starter to use in an actual bread recipe.
The recipe required two cups of starter so I put eight ounces of water and eight ounces of all-purpose flour in my small mixing bowl (see first photo above). To this I took all but a half cup of the starter from the crock and stirred vigorously. I covered the small mixing bowl with my tea towel and then re-fed my starter as I would normally – half cup of water and a cup of all-purpose flour.
For the final feeding prior to baking, add enough flour and water to use in your recipe, with a little left over to feed and maintain the starter for the next time you bake. For instance, if your recipe calls for 1 cup (about 8 ounces) starter, add 4 ounces each water and flour. If your recipe calls for 2 cups (about 16 ounces) starter, add 8 ounces each water and flour.Feeding and Maintaining Your Sourdough, King Arthur Flour
By half past eight, the starter for the bread was ready. But I did not want to knead dough by hand, so I took the suggestion from the Basic Sourdough Bread recipe, and used my bread machine’s dough setting to knead for me. I placed a half cup of room temperature water in the bottom of the pan followed by a half tablespoon of sugar. Then I took the small mixing bowl and poured the starter into a two-cup measuring cup and had just enough (two cups), which I then poured into the pan. I added two cups of bread flour (not all purpose like the recipe states) and sprinkled a half tablespoon of bread salt over the left and right sides of the flour in the pan. Next I added the final half cup of flour and made a depression with the tip of my finger to cradle the half tablespoon of active dry yeast. Finally, I selected the dough cycle (length one hour twenty-eight minutes with pre-heat disabled) and pressed the Start button. Mixing commenced and after twenty or thirty minutes, the somewhat sticky dough was nearly kneaded smooth.
Now I wait. The machine has stopped gyrating. The re-fed starters are covered and bubbling on the stove top. In another hour or so, I’ll be able to take the dough out and shape it for final rise and baking and convert the second batch in my small mixing bowl into a second loaf of sourdough bread.
Check back later this afternoon for more photos from the second phase in a second post this Sourdough Sunday. We’ll have fresh baked yummy soury goodness for Twelfth Night this evening. If only I could share the smell of baking sourdough bread with you.