For those of you who love the flavor of Sourdough bread, but also prefer a light and fluffy loaf with a thin crispy crust, this is the recipe for you.
We start with Mise En Place by first carefully reading our recipe instructions and its list of ingredients*. Then we gather all the necessary items and measure them into separate containers.
An essential ingredient which must be prepared ahead of time is the sourdough starter. I am very fortunate to have a friend who several years ago brought me some starter from Germany that had been maintained by a German bakery for several hundred years. If you do not have access to sourdough starter, you can either purchase some, or make your own. The purpose of this blog is not to tell you how to make or where to purchase sourdough starter, so I recommend you enter “sourdough starter” in your favorite search engine to locate the resource you need.
Once you have your starter, to maintain it you will need to regularly ‘feed’ your it and store it in the refrigerator. I keep mine in Mason Jars.
The first step to making this bread it to mix the dry ingredients. Then blend in the butter. Finally add the rest of the ingredients, including the warm water. It is essential to check the water temperature because if it is not warm enough it will not activate the yeasts properly. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeasts.
Very important to making this bread is kneading the dough in order to form the gluten. It is the gluten that enables the sponge to develop the bubbles from the yeast and produces the lighter loaf.
Another technique I use with this bread is to place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven and heat it with the oven before placing the bread in for baking. The purpose of this is to delay the crusting over the top of the loaf to allow the expansion of the dough by the additional activity of the yeast from the oven heat before the dough becomes so hot to deactivate the yeasts.
It is extremely important to take great care in how the dough rises. Extra rising times help to ensure a lighter loaf. Also, after the first rise, when you ‘punch’ down the sponge, do not literally punch it down, be gentle. The purpose of this stage is simply to eliminate any large pockets of air, rearrange the dough so the yeast comes in contact with more ‘food’ to create additional carbon dioxide, and form the loaves in preparation for baking.
After the second rise, you are ready to bake the bread. Place it in the oven, which should be full of steam from your water pan, and set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, rotate the loaves and continue to bake. The bread will be done when the crust has turned a golden color and the internal temperature has reached between 190 and 200 degrees.
* Light and Fluffy Sourdough Bread
4 c Flour, bread
½ c Flour, potato
¼ c Milk, dry
2 t Salt, kosher
1 ½ T Yeast, instant
½ c Butter, unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ c Water, warm (105 – 115)
1 c Sourdough starter (room temperature)
2 T Honey
In a large bowl combine the flours, dry milk, salt and yeast.
Add the butter and mix with dough hook on low speed.
Then add the honey, warm water and sourdough starter.
When all the flour is thoroughly moistened either beat on medium or knead by hand for 7 minutes to encourage gluten formation. The dough should be moist and sticky.
Place in oiled bowl, turning once to coat, cover with plastic and allow to rise for 1 ½ hours.
Pour out sponge on a lightly floured counter; gently rearrange dough, shape and place in bread pans.
Coat with oil, cover and allow to rise another 1 ½ hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn. Bake until crust is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 190 to 200 degrees.
Do not use a baking stone for this bread as the heat retained by the stone will produce a thick hard crust.