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King Arthur Flour's Extra-tangy Sourdough Bread

King Arthur Flour’s Extra-tangy Sourdough Bread

If you read the post I did last year on sourdough bread, and thought it was good, wait until you try this sourdough recipe!

Think sourdough bread, but with an amp’d up sourdough taste.  If you can imagine the best sourdough bread you’ve ever had, this is better.  Yeah, it’s that good.

There’s no yeast added to the dough.  All of the leavening comes from within the sourdough starter.

Downside to no added yeast is that it takes a lot longer for the loaves to rise, but the taste is worth it.  Make sure you plan accordingly to allow for the extra long rising time (I usually make this on a weekend).

Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups to 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water, enough to make a smooth dough
5 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt

  • Combine the starter, water, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously for 1 minute.
  • Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: 2 cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Knead to form a smooth dough.
  • Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it’s relaxed, smoothed out, and risen. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become REALLY puffy or it may just rise a bit. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Understand this: sourdough bread (especially sourdough without added yeast) is as much art as science; everyone’s timetable will be different. So please allow yourself to go with the flow, and not treat this as an exact, to-the-minute process.
  • Gently divide the dough in half.
  • Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours. Don’t worry if the loaves spread more than they rise; they’ll pick up once they hit the oven’s heat. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
  • Make two fairly deep horizontal 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.

Notes:

  • As you can see from the rising time it’ll be anywhere from 20-27 hours after you start making this before it will go into the oven.  Plan accordingly.

Source: King Arthur Flour

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A quick Google search of ‘pâte brisée’ will lead to almost as many variations as there are of pizza.

Different ratios of flour to butter, substitution of Crisco for some of the butter, number of eggs, use of egg yolks vs whole eggs…you get the idea.

I’ve tried at least a half dozen different variations, including Julia Child’s from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1.

None were bad, and all of them had some flakiness to the crust, but I noticed while browsing through Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes From Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe Joanne didn’t use a food processor at all, but a stand mixer, then smearing the flour and butter together with the heal of your hand.

This smearing, known by the French term fraisage, converts all the chunks of butter into thin sheet layers. Those long thin sheets will make the crust full of wonderful flakes.  Joanne actually demonstrates this technique in this King Arthur Flour YouTube video.  It’s actually easier than it looks, you’ll be surprised.

I tried to tweak the recipe Joanne lists in the book, but nothing made a difference; it’s pretty hard to improve on perfection!

I’ve used this dough at least a dozen times since I read about it, in various recipes, and every time, it came out light and flaky.  It’s my go-to pastry dough recipe now.

Pâte Brisée

1 3/4 cups (245g/7oz) flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks/228g/16tbsp) cold butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp cold milk

  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined.  Scatter the butter over the top.  Mix on low for about 90 seconds, or until the flour is no longer bright white, the lumps of butter are the size of pecans, and it hold together when you clump it.
  • Mix egg yolks and milk in a small bowl until combined.  Add to the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough just barely comes together (about 30 seconds).  It will not look like your normal dough at the time…don’t worry!
  • Dump the dough onto a unfloured work surface, then gather it into a mound.  Using the palm, start on one side of the mound and smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top and sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface.  Do this until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together.  Repeat this 1-3 times until the dough actually looks like dough, smeared with streaks of butter.
  • Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disc about 1″ thick.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Use within 4 days, or it can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Notes:

  • If you haven’t picked up this book yet, I highly highly highly recommend it.  Check out my review here, or order the book here.

Source:  Joanne Chung, Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe, page 92

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sourdough bread

Sourdough Bread

Who doesn’t love fresh baked bread? When talking about makes a stew, soup, or chili, nothing is better than a thick slice of homemade bread to get every last drop of goodness out of the bowl.

For an over-the-top experience, make it homemade sourdough bread and you’ve got a dictionary definition of home cooking.

The big downside to homemade sourdough bread, well authentic sourdough bread, is the need for a starter, which which is a symbiotic culture of yeast and lactic acid bacteria (lactobacillus) growing in a water and flour medium. Every so often (weekly is recommended) you need to take/use some of the starter, and add more flour/water to “feed” the starter. The longer the starter is kept, the more flavorful the starter becomes.

Last time I was at the King Arthur Flour store in Vermont, I picked up a small amount of their sour dough starter (found here), along with their stoneware crock (found here). The KAF starter is descended from a starter that’s been feed/used since the 1700s!

Figure since I was using their sourdough starter, their stoneware crock to keep it in, and since their also a flour company, that I might as well complete the triangle and use their recipe.

I found this recipe easier to make than typical yeast-style bread, and while it doesn’t rise as much as a yeast-style loaf of bread, the flavor is much more intense.

Sourdough Bread

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (110°)
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
5 cups 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°.
  • 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.

Notes:

  • I noticed no difference between a loaf that was sprayed with water and one that wasn’t.  The theory is that the water will give the crust more “chew”.  Maybe it was just me, but I tried it the first 3 times I made this, then forgot the 4th time, and the 5th time, I sprayed one loaf and not the other.  Couldn’t tell the difference.
  • The slashes in the bread are for looks only, so if you forget them, don’t worry, the bread will still taste the same.
  • As much as I hate to cut & paste recipes, this is a bread recipe, so there isn’t much wiggle room.

Source: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/rustic-sourdough-bread-recipe

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King Arthur Flour

King Arthur Flour

I’m not sure what I was more surprised about: the fact that King Arthur Flour is 220 years old (established in 1790), or that their headquarters is less than 2 hours away from me…

Last weekend I was in the area doing some kayaking, so I stopped by their headquarters, which is also a retail store, a “Baking Education Center“, and of course, a bakery.   I was very impressed on how well organized everything was and helpful/friendly the employees were.  I found out later that KAF is 100% employee owned, so each employee has a stake in the business doing well.

I thought that the store would just be a tourist trap, trying to make money off the KAF name, but nope, it’s heaven sent for any baker, from the home baker to the professional baker needed the 50lb bags of flour they sell there.  Their prices online are the same as the store, and comparable to what you would pay in a baking store (equipment), or a supermarket (flour/etc).  I picked up a pound of Dutch-processed cocoa and a package of parchment paper, pre-cut into 1/2 sheet size (perfect for my cookie/baking sheets).

While KAF is a little more expensive than other brands of flour, I’ve always found that their quality is worth the extra money.  Remember, when baking or cooking: garbage in, garbage out…

So if you’re ever in the eastern part of Vermont, it’s worth the trip to the KAF headquarters.

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