King Arthur Flour

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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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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Best White Sandwich Bread

Best White Sandwich Bread

In celebration of King Arthur flour’s 220th birthday, I thought it would be an appropriate time to make some tasty white bread.

What is better, or more welcoming in a home, than the smell of baking bread?  The only thing that comes close is chocolate chip cookies and then I think it’s a pretty close match.

What goes well with out-of-the-oven warm bread?  What doesn’t go with it?  Butter, jam, jelly, Nutella, the list goes on and on.  If it can be spread on bread, it will taste even better on fresh baked bread.

I’ve made probably hundreds of loaves of bread and tried a bunch of different recipes.  This is the one that is a hodgepodge of other recipes, taking the best ideas and concepts of each into my own recipe.

Best White Sandwich Bread

2 packages (1/2 oz or 4 1/2 tsp) instant active dry yeast
3/4 cup water
2 cups milk
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
7-8 cups (29 3/4 – 34oz) bread flour

  • Heat oven to 200 and let heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk and water over medium-low heat until lukewarm (110-115 for yeast/115-120 for instant yeast).  While milk/water heats up, melt butter over low heat and let cool slightly.  Add butter, honey, and yeast to the milk/water mixture.
  • Add 7 cups of flour and salt to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook..  Slowly stream in the liquid mixture with the mixer on low (2 on a KitchenAid).  When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium (4 on a KA).  Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook and make sure there is no flour hiding in the bottom of the bowl. Mix until the dough is no longer sticky, about 10 minutes.
  • Turn the dough onto the work surface and knead for a minute or so by hand. Knead by folding the dough over itself and pushing out with the heel of your hands, not down. Rotate the dough and repeat. The dough is properly kneaded when you can pull it and it stretches without breaking. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in heated oven until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Test the dough by pressing 2 fingers into it. If indents remain, the dough is adequately risen.
  • Once the dough is doubled and domed, punch it down in the bowl to remove any air bubbles.  Turn it out onto the counter. Handle the dough gently, overworking the gluten at this point will produce a dense loaf that is difficult to shape.
  • To form a loaf, pat the dough into a rectangle, fold the long sides to the middle then fold under the ends. Pinch the seams closed and place in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, seam side down. Make sure the dough touches all sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise a second time for 20 minutes or until the top of the dough is nearly level with the top of the loaf pan.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees , place a large pan on the bottom rack of the oven.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 190 degrees when inserted into the center of the loaf.

Notes:

  • For a crisper crust, bring 3 cups water to a boil on the stove during the 2nd rise. On the bottom rack in your oven, place a spare pan when heating the oven for the baking.  Pour the hot water into the spare pan when beginning to bake the bread to create a steam bath for the bread.
  • I typically start heating the oven for the 1st rise right before I add the liquid mixture to the flour, but it will vary, depending on how fast your oven heats up.

Source: <note to self: find source again and add it here>

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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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