Thursday, January 8, 2015

Easy Sourdough Bread

I love to bake bread, and I've never had a type of bread give me more problems than sourdough.  Mostly because you have to wait for weeks while you grow a starter, which usually turns out pretty well for me, but when it comes to actually baking the bread, something goes wrong, and it has never turned out well for me.  This recipe calls for sour cream and Greek yogurt (with live, active cultures in it) instead of a traditional bread starter, which I found to be really interesting!
While playing around on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago, I found a pin that claimed to be the quickest sourdough bread recipe you'll find!
It did take a full day, but it is a homemade bread, so they take some time.  However, 99% of that time is just waiting for it to rise, and not actually involved in labor.
I was so excited to try this recipe (you can find the blog post that I found it on here: easy sourdough bread) that I rushed my daughter to school this past Monday morning, and got home as quickly as I could!  I had this dough together by 9:00 AM, and had to set it in her room to rise, since it is the warmest room in the house, and went about my day.
After baking this bread (and eating a good deal of it!), I have to say, I think my woes with sourdough bread have finally been laid to rest.  This is a recipe I will happily make over and over, and I can proudly say: I can make sourdough bread!  And the best part is, I can do it in 1 day!!  
Enough of my babble, we need to get started!  I can't wait to share this with you!
Here's your grocery list for this one:
3 C bread flour
17.6 oz of Greek yogurt (make sure that it has the live, active cultures in it!)
1/2 to 1 C sour cream
1 tsp of salt
Scant 1 tsp of dry active yeast*
*The amount of yeast you use, will depend on how long you're going to let this dough rise.  If you have the 6-12 hours to let this rise for the first time, use the scant 1 tsp - if you plan to let it rise for 12-18 hours, use about 1/2 tsp of yeast.

Now then, to start off with, put your flour, Greek yogurt, 1/2 C of sour cream, salt and yeast into the bowl of your mixer.  Mix this until combined, then knead with your dough hook on for 5-7 minutes.  I like to start all of my doughs off with the paddle attachment, just to get them started, then once the dough ball has come together, I put on the dough hook attachment, to knead it.
If your dough is a little dry, add some more sour cream, or Greek yogurt.  This is a very heavy, and sticky dough, so don't be afraid to add a little extra sour cream.  Yeast loves a moist environment to grow in!
Your Greek yogurt will list the live, active cultures on the ingredients list, so you can check there to be sure!

Like I said before, this is a very sticky dough, but once it has come together, turn it out onto a (very) lightly floured surface, and bring it together to form a dough ball.  Lightly spray a bowl with cooking oil, and place your dough ball in the bowl.  Spray the top of the dough ball, and a sheet of plastic wrap, then cover the bowl with the sprayed plastic wrap.
The hard part is done.  That's it!  Now then, set it in a warm place to rise for 6-8 hours!

A quick before and after the rising time!

After it has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, without punching it down, and lightly knead it for 2-3 minutes.  Pat it back into a ball, and place it back into the bowl; cover it again, and let it rise for another 2 hours, if you can (but at least 1 hour!).

When you have about 20 minutes left on this second rise, put a dutch oven into your oven, and preheat it to 450*.  After your oven has preheated, pull out the dutch oven (carefully!!  This will be very hot, and it is very heavy!), lay down a circle of parchment paper (so the bread doesn't stick to the dutch oven), and very carefully move the dough from the bowl to the dutch oven.  Mine didn't quite make it to the middle, but what are you gonna do?  Sometimes that happens, right?  It turned out just fine, regardless!  Place the lid on your dutch oven, and move this whole thing into the oven.

Bake, covered for 30-40 minutes; I baked mine for 30 minutes, and it as ever so slightly doughy still.  I think it could have baked for another few minutes, and been better, but I'm not complaining about it!  After your bread has baked for the 30-40 minutes, pull it out of the oven, remove the cover, and put it back in for another 5-10 minutes.  I put mine back in for 5 minutes.  Once the crust has browned to your liking, immediately remove it to a cooling rack, and let it cool completely before cutting. 
 This crust is chewy, the tang of the sourdough really shines through in this beautiful bread.  
I really hope you try this, if sourdough has ever caused you problems before, I hope you find this helps!
I will make this a lot more often, now that I have a very easy shortcut!  I'm so excited about this!