Sourdough Bread

Ingredients

Sponge Ingredients:

Ingredients To Add To Sponge:

Glaze:

Cornmeal for Baking Sheets:

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in 1½ cups warm water.
  2. Add yogurt, sourdough starter and 2 cups flour; stir for 1 minute.
  3. Batter will have the consistency of soft pudding.
  4. This is your sponge.
  5. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rest in a warm place, free from drafts, overnight. The longer the sponge ferments, the better the flavor of the bread.
  6. Transfer the sponge to a heavy duty mixer bowl.
  7. Add salt and 2 cups of flour to the work bowl with the sponge in it.
  8. Using an electric mixer or the paddle attachment for a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  9. Remove mixer or paddle attachments from bowl.
  10. Insert a dough hook into the stand mixer. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that is smooth and elastic.
  11. Wash out the bowl the sponge was in and coat with oil.
  12. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides.
  13. Cover with slightly damp flour sack towel.
  14. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk; 1½ to 2 hours.
  15. Grease 2 cookie sheets and set aside.
  16. If you are using a wood paddle and pizza stone for baking, dust the paddle with flour and set aside.
  17. Punch down dough.
  18. Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
  19. Knead for 30 seconds.
  20. Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
  21. Divide dough in half.
  22. Shape dough into smooth logs for oblong shaped loaves. For a round loaves, shape dough into 2 balls. For long baguettes, shape accordingly.
  23. Place dough on prepared baking sheet(s) or bread paddle.
  24. Cover with a dry towel. Let rise until double in bulk; about 1½ hours.
  25. Place one oven rack in lowest position in the oven.
  26. Place a second oven rack one or two positions up from the lowest rack.
  27. If using pizza stone place on second rack.
  28. Leave enough space between the racks for a shallow roasting pan.
  29. Place a shallow roasting pan on first oven rack.
  30. Pour 2 cups of boiling water into the shallow roasting pan.
  31. Preheat oven to 425°.
  32. Slash top of oblong loaf with 5 diagonal slashes. If you are baking a round loaf, slash with 3 horizontal slashes and 3 vertical slashes, making a tic-tac-toe design.
  33. Mix together 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water to make a glaze. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to separate eggs.
  34. Brush the loaves with the egg white glaze.
  35. Place the loaves in the oven either directly on pizza stone or on prepared baking sheet.
  36. Bake for 15 minutes.
  37. Remove the loaves from the oven and brush with the egg white glaze.
  38. Remove the shallow roasting dish from oven.
  39. Bake loaves 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.
  40. Brush the loaves a third time with the egg white glaze, bake 5 more minutes.
  41. Remove from oven.
  42. Place loaf on a rack to cool.
  43. Cool for 30 minutes, slice and serve.

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