Lest anyone say that I don't keep my New Year's resolutions this week I threw myself into baking bread. I have baked bread before and have mostly used recipes from all kinds of sources, assorted cookbooks, magazines, websites, newspapers, pretty much wherever I found a recipe I wanted to try. However, since I decided that I was going to bake more bread than the occasional loaf here and there I thought it high time I got myself a bread baking cookbook. First came the unenviable task of figuring out which one, and there are lots of them. So I spent waaaayyyy too much time on Amazon researching this subject I finally decided on this book
Sourdough starter adapted from The Tassajara Bread Book
Combine 1 tablespoon of dry yeast, 2 1/2 cups of warm water, 2 teaspoons of sugar or honey, and 2 1/2 cups of flour (I used, unbleached all-purpose). Cover and let it ferment for five days, stirring daily. The starter will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator once it's proofed.
Country French Bread adapted from The Tassajara Bread Book
(makes 2 moderate loaves)
the night before:
1 1/2 cups of sourdough starter
5 cups of whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups warm water
At night, add the starter to the flour, then mix in the water a little at a time until it is all added. Beat well. Cover and set aside overnight. A warm, not hot, place is preferable but not essential.
Replenish the starter
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup pf water
1 tablespoon of salt
4 to 6 cups unbleached white flour
In the morning, replenish the starter and refrigerate it for the next batch of sourdough bread. Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then stir it into the sponge along with the salt. Fold in the white flour a cup at a time until a dough forms. Remove from the bowl to a floured board and knead thoroughly, adding more flour as necessary.
Divide the dough into two pieces, shape each piece into a ball, and place on an oiled baking sheet. Let the loaves rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.