I discovered Crusty Sourdough bread in San Francisco years and years ago and I just loved the taste, texture and the toughness of those delicious loafs.
Sourdough bread is exactly that, a bread made from a "starter" that is allowed to mature over time.
In the Cowboy culture (campfire dutch oven cooking) every cook has his/her sourdough "starter" which is usually flour, water and "time" with "time" being the most important factor. They nurture it and feed it until it ripens to their satisfaction. The hubby has had a container of his awesome starter in the fridge as long as I can remember. I just love it when he brings out his "starter" and his cast iron dutch ovens for a delicious meal in the "old" manner of cowboy chuck wagon style cooking. (Such as his Dutch Oven Texas Peach Cobbler) Over the years we have made Sourdough biscuits, pancakes , sourdough rolls and loafs in this manner.
While this Sourdough Crusty Bread recipe is not exactly like the great Sourdough breads of San Francisco nor does it taste exactly like the Cowboy Sourdough Breads of yesteryear, it is now my absolute go-to bread to satisfy those cravings for a sourdough crusty bread. It doesn't take as long as Cowboy starter but you will need to get this starter going a couple of days before you wish to serve the bread.
I must confess it did took several rounds (failed attempts) to get this recipe to mine and the hubby's satisfaction but we are happy with this result.
Sourdough Crusty Bread
- 2 cups of flour (all purpose)
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 3 cups flour (all purpose)
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups of warm water
- 1 egg
InstructionsFor the Starter
1. Mix flour, water and yeast in a medium bowl until a dough forms.
2. On a lightly floured board or mat, knead the dough until smooth about 2-3 minutes.
3. Place in lightly oiled bowl (olive oil) and turn to coat, cover with a clean cloth and allow rise for at least 3 hours (not over 5 hours)
4. Cover with a clear wrap and place in fridge for at least 24 hours but best for 48 hours.For the Bread (start about 5 hours prior to serving)
1. Remove the starter from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour
2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix to combine well.
3. Tear up the starter in tablespoon size pieces and add to the flour mixture one at a time
4. Add water and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir together until a dough forms
5. On a floured board or mat, turn dough out and knead for 4-6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
6. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise until double. (for about 2-3 hours)
7. Gently divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into long rounded loafs
8. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with a little cornmeal. Place two loafs on each one making sure they are not touching, giving them room to rise
9. Cover lightly (tent) with clear wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour
10. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush loafs with egg wash
11. Gently score the loafs with a very sharp knife diagonally at a angle two or three times
12. Place a metal baking pan half full of hot water in the lower rack of the oven and heat oven to 450 degrees
13. Bake loafs for 18-20 minutes until the loafs are golden brown.
14. Place on wire racks to cool