Sourdough French Bread (Baguette)

March 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

Sundays are good days for me to bake bread since they are typically quiet, non-stressful, relaxed kind of day. On this particular Sunday, The Mister was working and I had the day all to myself, a good day to bake bread!

I’ve had my sourdough starter (from Breadtopia) for almost 5 months now, taking care of it every week or so. Although not neglected in feeding, I have only used it a couple of times in no-knead breads. Haven’t been too successful with sourdough NKBs so I decide to try my hand at a sourdough French Baguette using the regular recipe but substituting with sourdough starter. Before I get to the bread, here’s a picture of the glass jar that the starter lives in, kept in the back of the refrigerator. You know, in case anyone is curious.

Here’s a shot of the inside, bubbly and alive! This was after feeding it 2 times in preparation for the bread.

Instructions are exactly the same as the regular French baguette recipe except the substitution for the starter so I will only list the ingredients and spare the redundancy in directions. Since the sourdough starter has water in it, I had to adjust the amount of water in the recipe. How much is kind of a guess. But it’s okay since the amount of flour will increase or decrease to get the right dough consistency. For this one, I over adjusted a bit based on past breads. I didn’t take out a 1:1 ratio (reduced liquids by 1/4 C) but a bit more (by 2 Tbsp). Doesn’t seem like much but sourdough can be finicky for me.

I also added an extra amount of dry yeast because I wanted to help the dough develop, although according to Breadtopia and my bread book, this isn’t necessary. But I thought I’d better since my starter has been somewhat dormant.

1/4 cup sourdough starter
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/8 cup (~2 Tbsp) warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 3/4 cups cool water (45-55 degrees F)
5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
Cornmeal (if using baguette loaf pan)

The results were pretty darn good, by far better than the KNB results. The bread didn’t have an extremely sour taste as the very first bread I made with the starter but that can be remedied if I feed the starter more the next time. But I liked the overall taste it had. What was interesting is that the bread tasted saltier than the regular so I think I’d cut that back to 1.5 tsp next time. The crust wasn’t as crusty as the regular baguette but I had expected that. I noticed the same thing with Panera’s regular and sourdough baguettes so I’m thinking it’s a sourdough thing.

I think my next sourdough experiment might be a loaf using the basic white recipe. That might be interesting to see how the crust will turn out. It would be great to have sourdough bread without the long wait. But I’ll have to see how the taste is without the longer proofing time.

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