At the start of this year, I checked off one of the things that been on my Baking Bucket List for years by deciding to practice/teach myself how to bake sourdough bread. It took some determination and more than a little trial/error, but I can report that it’s been going rather well.
I’ve found that the most important thing when baking sourdough is maintaining your sourdough starter. It’s often called a pet, and for good reason. You have to give it regular, measured ‘feedings’ and store it in specific way so as to keep it from going bad. The longer you can keep this up, the better quality of your starter, and thus, the better ‘sour’ flavor of your bread.
As the sourdough chronicles continue in my kitchen, my starter pet/baby Donatello (named after the turtle, not the sculptor) is now just about to turn nine months old. He’s full of pep, vigor, yeast and bacteria (the good kind). I’m a pretty proud and satisfied mama.
Ever since the first sourdough bread recipe I shared on the blog, I have been experimenting with others, to see what I like or don’t like and what works best for me and Donatello. The latest one has worked out so well that it’s become a regular staple in our house, to the point where I make it just about every other week.
There are two things about this bread that I think set it apart from some of the other sourdough recipes I’ve tried out over the past few months. First, the actual labor is spread out over two days so that it’s really easy and relatively quick to put together. Because the sponge (the flour, water and starter mixture that’s made on Day 1) is left to set overnight, I also think it improves the fermentation of the dough and overall flavor. Second, the addition of olive oil to the dough gives it AMAZING texture, and flavor. I went ahead and added a blend of my favorite dried herbs to the dough as well, which paired well with the oil.
There’s a reason why this is our new favorite bread. If you’re a sourdough lover/baker, I highly recommend giving this one a try.
Overnight Olive Oil Sourdough Bread
- 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, ripe (fed)
- 1 2/3 cups (379g) warm water, plus 1/4 a cup, divided
- 5 1/2 cups (660g) All-Purpose Flour, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoons (12g) salt
- 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of your favorite dried herbs (I usually do a mix of rosemary, thyme and basil)
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling
On Day 1:
In a medium size bowl, combine the sourdough starter, the 1 2/3 cups of warm water and 3 cups (362 grams) of the all purpose flour. Use a fork or whisk to stir together briskly, until well combine.
Loosely cover the top with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours (I usually let mine sit in the microwave).
After 2 hours have passed, place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to rest overnight and/or up to 16 hours.
On Day 2:
Pour the 1/4 cup of warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle the white sugar on top of that. Allow to sit for ten minutes until proofed and frothy.
Take the bowl out of the fridge and add the remaining flour, the salt, the olive oil, the proofed yeast and the dried herbs. Use the dough hooks on a handheld mixer (or a fork) to make a soft dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or oiled work surface, and knead it, adding more flour as necessary, until it’s smooth and springs back when you poke it. If the dough feels too stiff, add a few more teaspoons of olive oil to soften it.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 2 hours at moderate room temperature (below 80°F or so). The dough should become puffy.
Gently deflate the dough. Shape into a boule-like round. (somewhat like a tomato shape) Flour a banneton bowl (or a regular bowl) and place the dough inside, seam side up. Cover with the plastic wrap and kitchen towel and allow to proof for another 45 minutes-to an hour.
About halfway through the second rise, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a 6 quart Dutch oven with the lid on inside the oven. (BE SURE THE HANDLE ON THE LID IS METAL AND NOT PLASTIC)
Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. (It’s going to be very hot; Don’t burn yourself.)
Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan and sprinkle it with cornmeal. When the dough is finished rising, Turn the parchment line sheet pan upside down and place on top of it. In one swift motion, turn the dough bowl upside down onto the parchment paper, and lift away the bowl.
Grip two sides of the parchment paper and use them to swiftly lift the bread into the Dutch oven. Use a bread lame, or a very sharp knife to slash at least two gashes into the surface of the bread, about 1-1 1/2 inches deep each. You can make a cross, or any other pattern you desire) Place the lid on top of the Dutch oven and place the whole thing back inside the oven.
Allow to bake, undisturbed for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and check the color of the dough. The bread should be risen and slightly golden brown on top. If it’s still pale, place the lid back on and allow to bake for another 10 minutes, then check it again. If it’s golden brown, remove the lid and allow to bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Use an internal thermometer to check the inner temp of the bread. It should be at least 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Carefully remove the bread from the Dutch Oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack for at least an hour.
Sharing at Fiesta Friday #447.