The Sour Dough Kit from Williams-Sonoma
Journey to the perfect loaf!
After learning that those with gluten intolerance may be able to successfully tolerate sour dough bread, I have been on the quest to find and make the perfect loaf of sour dough bread.
I read where the sour dough starter actually cancels out the gluten. My sweet daughter, has an auto-immune disease which greatly benefits from a gluten-free diet. We learned that she does tolerate and digest sour dough bread. Of course, I am certainly going to do my part in helping her find quality foods that are within her diet.
My first attempts at making my own starter were from “scratch”. It took eight days to ferment the starter and begin baking. After six very dense, fair tasting loaves, I was able to make a pretty good loaf. My starter however, was a bit frustrating to me as it seemed to take about two days to proof a loaf. I also thought it needed to have a better taste.
I started searching for the best sour dough bread I could find. Topping the list was San Francisco Sour Dough Bread made in a bakery in San Francisco. I also learned you could purchase a sour dough starter kit from Williams-Sonoma. (I am not associated with Williams-Sonoma. I am just a customer.)
It arrives with a nice little crock to keep your starter preserved in.
I found the detailed instructions a bit difficult to understand but I ended up with a good end product so I suppose I came close to following it correctly. It begins by combining the starter with warm water and all-purpose flour.
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Combining the starter packet with warm water and flour.
Next, cover the bowl and allow to rest. Stirring the mixture at regular intervals is
important in the fermentation process.
Note the large bubbles on top of the mixture. This is ready for division and feeding.
For the remaining 72 hours, you will be stirring at regular intervals until the mixture reaches it peak (lots of active bubbles), then you will reduce to 1/2 C mixture and add one cup of warm water and one cup of flour. (If it is bedtime, you will increase the flour and water to 2 or 3 cups and cover for the night) Upon rising, divide, reduce to 1/2 C and feed with 1 C warm water and flour.
The is the final division. Fill your crock with starter and refrigerate.
Beautifully Proofed Dough
Two days later, I had to bake bread to see how the new starter would work. The recipe is easy. The night before baking, put 1/2 C starter in a bowl with 3 Cups warm water and 3 Cups flour. Cover overnight. The next morning, you will have beautiful starter called a sponge. It’s very bubbly! Take 2 1/2 Cups of the sponge and put it in your stand mixer, add 1 1/2 C flour and mix together. Allow it to rest an hour. Next, add one more C of flour, put on the dough hook, add a tablespoon of salt and slowing continue adding flour until you have a moist, non sticky dough. Put your dough into a bowl and allow to rise 8 to 13 hours! Yes, it takes that long! Yes, it will eventually work! Yes, it’s worth the wait!
Then the fun begins.
Shaping the dough into a round.
Creating a smooth loaf
Once you have gone all the way around the dough and folded it upon itself. Place the round on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. The dough is ready for a second rise. Allow the round to rise for 3 hours.
Finally, cut tic-tac-toe slits into the dough with a new razor blade. Brush with an egg wash, and place into a hot 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking an additional 45 minutes.
The dough round is rising for a second time for 3 hours.
Brush the loaf you just scored with a razor blade with the egg wash.
This is a huge, crusty loaf of San Francisco Sour Dough Bread.
The end product was a very beautiful round of San Francisco Sour Dough Bread. It is a very tasty bread. Next time, I will be making it in loaf pans to see how it holds up for sandwich bread. I am very encouraged by my first loaf. I feel like it can only get better as I get better at making it! Hope you give the San Francisco Starter a try if you enjoy baking bread or want to start.