Overnight Olive Oil Sourdough Bread

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.

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Overnight Olive Oil Sourdough Bread

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Rustic Sourdough Bread

When was the last time you accomplished something you’d really wanted to accomplish for a really long time?

I’m at a point in my life when I’m learning a lot about accomplishment. I’m doing, which is what I think most people associate accomplishment-but a huge chunk of it is also in what I learn. They’re both just as important, with the learning aspect sometimes edging out the doing.

One of the things I set out to accomplish at the start of this year was a task that had been on my Baking Bucket List for a while; upwards of a few years. I kept putting it off and putting it off. But because I’m in an Accomplishment Mode, I made up my mind a couple of months ago that I was finally going to learn how to bake sourdough bread for myself.

After two months of practice, determination, and errors, I’m pleased and proud to say, that I have.

The essential ingredient in sourdough bread is something called a sourdough starter. A starter is comprised of nothing but water and flour that’s allowed to ferment until it forms acids and gases that give the sourdough bread it’s signature tangy flavor.

When I was doing my research into sourdough baking, I heard starters being called “pets” a lot, and now that I have one of my own, I definitely understand why. They’re just as touchy and finicky as a pet, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to get it started (no pun intended). You have to ‘feed’ a starter daily, up to twice a day in the beginning. The types of flour you use matter to how strong/well it ferments. You also have to weigh out the ingredients to get the best results. It really is a science.

Because bakers get so involved with their starter in the preparation and maintenance, many give their starters names, just like you would give one to a pet. (Apparently it’s considered good luck, or something like that) I have to admit, I too joined in on this trend. My starter baby/pet/co-pilot is a He, and his name is Donatello.

No, not after the sculptor. After the turtle. (Those who know, know).

It took Donatello and I a while to get the hang of this starter/sourdough thing, but we finally have and what we made together was truly glorious.

If you take a look at the ingredients list, you’ll see that this recipe is definitely for beginners. In the first place, it uses a combination of sourdough starter and active dry yeast, which helps to ensure that the dough will still rise without needing the starter to be absolutely perfect. In the second place, there aren’t any other flavorings for the dough besides salt. Now it tastes delicious exactly as written, but in subsequent bakings I have also incorporated dry herbs and pepper into the dough, which just upped the taste factor even more.

Lastly, My recipe makes a LOT of bread. A LOT. This was on purpose, as I wanted a loaf that would pretty much fill my six quart Dutch Oven, and that’s exactly what this did. But If you prefer, you can definitely halve the recipe and still come out with a smaller, but just as delicious loaf of sourdough bread.

Here’s to the doing and the learning of Accomplishment….

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Rustic Sourdough Bread

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (454 grams) ripe sourdough starter, stirred down (I used King Arthur’s recipe for sourdough starter, which can be found here.)
  • 1 1/2 cups (680 grams) lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 10 cups (1204 grams) all purpose flour

Directions

Sprinkle the active dry yeast on top of the warm water, then sprinkle the sugar on top. Allow to sit about 10 minutes, until proofed and frothy.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining dry ingredients together in the bowl of a large standing mixer and stir together with a large fork.

Make a well in the center of the ingredients and pour in the sourdough starter and yeast-water mixture.

Use the dough hook to stir until a smooth dough comes together. (I’ve had days where I needed to add more flour, I’ve had days where I needed to add more water. This is probably just going to depend upon the weather, the time of year, and the temperature of your kitchen.)

Grease the bowl, place the dough back inside and cover with plastic wrap, and a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until it’s covered in size, about 90 minutes.

Gently deflate the dough. Shape into a boule-like round. (It’s somewhat like a tomato) 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 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. 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 20-30 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 #421.