I was one of the many that became obsessed with sourdough during the quarantine. I’ve dabbled with sourdough in the past, but really never put in the effort needed to make a truly good loaf of sourdough bread. After a LOT of trial and error, I am pleased to say that I have now learned to make a near perfect loaf of sourdough bread. This loaf is one I’ve been playing around with in recent weeks and I am very happy with the final results. It is a very tasty loaf with a chewy crust that is perfect to serve with a cheese selection when entertaining during the holidays.
I will not go into the steps to create a sourdough starter as there are many very descriptive tutorials on the internet. Making a sourdough starter from scratch requires time and patience but is really quite easy. You can read more about creating your own sourdough starter at Martha Stewart.com or on many other bread related internet sites such as King Arthur Flour . You can also buy a fresh sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour. Just feed the starter as soon as it arrives and within a couple of days you’ll be able to bake your own fresh sourdough loaves.
This bread requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator, so plan ahead accordingly. In place of the figs, you could instead use dried cranberries or even raisins if you prefer. I found that baking my bread in a cast iron Dutch oven or in a ceramic bread dish gives me the crust I desire. Also, I learned recently that leaving the bread uncovered in the oven with the temperature turned off and the door left open helps to ensure a nice chewy crust. This bread will keep well for up to three days wrapped in foil, or freezes well for up to three months when wrapped carefully. I like to serve this bread sliced thinly with soft cheese, but it is also delicious toasted and slathered in butter for breakfast!
Deborah Mele 2021
- 1 1/4 Cups Sourdough Starter (See Notes Above)
- 1 Cup Warm Water
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Instant Yeast
- 1 Teaspoons Salt
- 3 Cups Unbleached Bread Flour
- 1 Cup Chopped Dried Figs
- 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
- Combine the starter, water, yeast, salt, and flour in a bowl with a wooden spoon just until mixed.
- Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.
- Dump dough onto the counter and knead by hand until smooth and shiny, about 7 minutes, adding in the figs and walnuts as you knead.
- Cover the bowl again and let dough rise until doubled, about 60 minutes.
- Use a dough scraper and fold the edges of the dough into the center, turning the bowl as you go.
- Turn the dough over, shaping into a ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the bread from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
- Shape dough into long oval or a round, place on parchment paper, and cover with kitchen towel.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and if using a cast iron Dutch oven or bread baking ceramic dish, place these in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Use a sharp knife or bread lame to slash the top of the dough to allow expansion as it bakes.
- After 30 minutes, carefully remove the dish from the oven, and use the parchment paper to place the dough into the heated dish.
- Cover and bake for 25 minutes.
- Uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center reaches 200 degrees F.
- Turn oven off, open door and let bread sit for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and set bread on a wire rack to cool.
- Slice and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 267Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 180mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g