A lot of kids eat my whole wheat bread and a lot of oldies eat my organic stone ground bread and a lot of everybody eats my bread and the loaf they request most often is CC’s Soft Sourdough Bread.
It is still made with the stone-ground, locally grown flour. Still organic. Still whole wheat. Still simple. Still made by hand in a bowl. Still has that delicious crusty crust but is soft on the inside and the crust is not so crusty-tough that it will pull your dentures out. (And no – none of us have dentures!) YET!!
But we do love a loaf of wholesome bread with a crackly crust on the outside and a soft moist pillowy bite to the inside.
Fresh or tired is fine. If you do not have a sourdough starter make a sponge the night before with 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water and a pinch of yeast. This will add strength to your dough and a little sourness.
OR miss this ingredient out altogether. It is not critical. The sourdough in this recipe is purely to add an additional layer of taste. When adding a tangzhong to a dough I always add yeast to lift it.
In a little pot whisk together until there are no lumps.
Heat, stirring all the while, until the roux is just thick enough to leave a clear pathway on the bottom of the pot as you stir. COOL.
Add the water to a well in the flour then add yeast to hydrate. Sprinkle the freshly ground salt all around the dry outer edges. After the yeast is puffed up add the tangzhong to the water and yeast in the well.
Begin whisking in the middle of the well as though you are making a batter, (this will easily combine the roux with the water) then as you whisk; the liquid will slowly collect up more flour. Change to a spatula or your hands and combine.
Remember – there is always a chance you will need a little more water or a little more flour depending on your conditions.
Combine until the dough is forming a ball and coming away from the walls of the bowl then allow the dough to REST.
Rest the dough until it is relaxed and spreading out.
Then Stretch and Fold 3 times in the next hour and rest in between. Place the bowl upside down over the top of the dough when it is resting.
Divide into two loaves. Shape and place in two oiled bowls with wet T Towels on top.
Allow to rise for another hour or two – honestly; proofing times depend entirely on your kitchen, climate, season, altitude, humidity and even air pressure has a lot to do with proofing. Not to mention the protein level in your dough and the freshness of your yeast. Organic stne ground flour will behave differently from a roller mill flour. Your mood too. Do you think your mood affects your dough? I really do. So I will never tell you definitively how long a dough needs for a final proof. But I began to make this dough at 9.30 am, my stretch and fold period was one hour and I finished baking at 2.30 pm.
If you can poke a floured finger into the dough and it does not rise back up fast then you are close.
Score. Bake at 460F – 480F (depending on your oven) for 50 minutes. Start with the lid on the Dutch Oven and remove the lid after 25 minutes.
Turn the oven on before you think you need it. I bake in cast iron Dutch Ovens so I want these to be super heated.
The bread is baked when you can knock on the crust and it sounds like a wooden door.
I always freshly grind salt. I have no interest in the pre-ground packaged salt – it has a nasty metallic taste that I hate plus anti caking agents and bleaching, etc.
Freshly ground pure sea salt from a reputable source is a taste I find hard to describe. It is the epitome of sweet and salty. I much prefer it. Grind the salt in a mortar and pestle (I even have a small travelling ortar and pestle because ALL spices taste better freshly ground). No smashing it up with blades and machines. Stone on stone is best.
Freshly ground salt adds a high salty sweet note to the ‘pallette for the palate’.
Yesterday I found some Celtic Sea Salt in my son’s cupboards. Organic Celtic salt comes from France and though packaged in North Carolina is still imported. But it is so sweet you can lick it off your fingers (and I do!) I am a fan. (Imported though, which is a mark against it but it was in the cupboard already!). 😂
The problem with bread – of course – is I love to eat it.
Today I am eating it with good butter and marmalade. What’s your fav today?
Third son put Saint Cecilia back together again. He will get the right adhesive and is going to make a metal tray that she can slide into. (He can make anything out of metal) That way she cannot be bent so far she breaks again.
Do you see the former break close to her head? My grandfather mended her that time – about seventy years ago – and now his great grandson will mend her again.
I am travelling back to Illinois tomorrow. So I am not sure if I will have time to post. As usual I have to rise at 3.30AM to get to the airport on time. Yikes!
Your bread always looks fantastic – you do a great crust, which is may favourite bit.
Saint Cecilia is looking good – it’s a lovely sculpture and doing better than Humpty Dumpty!
Saint Cecilia and Humpty Dumpty in the same sentence. Why does that feel momentous to me!
That sounds like a good thing – unbreakable!
Greetings Mad, it’s me again, commenting on your comment! I believe last time it was something about herons and ducks! :). Humpty Dumpty is the first thing I also thought of reading about poor broken St. Cecilia! Great minds think alike again..or maybe that’s bird brains! LOL.
PS. To Cecilia…that bread looks divine and I think we’ll try it. We haven’t bought a loaf of bread in years but up until just recently, we have never had a sourdough starter until a friend gave us some to babysit while they traveled and to return the favor of our sourdough starter babysitting job..we got to keep a little. Yay!
St Cecilia of the Farmy 😉
This bread looks delicious! I’ll bookmark your recipe to try 🙂
I’m glad Saint Cecilia was able to be mended.
Safe travels back to Illinois. Hopefully you can catch up with some sleep on the plane.
I start most days by reading your blog post Celi and I particularly like the comments. But today there are few comments so I will have to come back and start later. I have never made bread so perhaps I will try this recipe. As a beginner is this the one you would recommend?
I might have a better one for you to begin with. I will find the link.
The repairs are now an exquisite part of its history. In Japan, it might be filled with gold.
Wouldn’t that be amazing! Gold seams.
I signed up for a kintsuji course at the local craft school, but they were over filled. Hopefully, next time!
Yes! But where do you find the gold?
We’ll, I’d probably have to mine it myself. That’s a good question! If I ever get in the class, I’ll find out!
Pleased to see Saint Cecelia is being mended and given a new lease on life. The bread looks delicious.
So happy to see St. Cecilia mended!
Yes! No adhesive yet but at least we know she can be put back together. Poor Saint Cecilia.
There is absolutely nothing more delicious than simple fresh bread with plenty of salted butter.. Unless you put a slice of good ham on top of it, but good ham is hard to find.
Oh good ham! I will get one out of the freezer.
We have a good local butcher who smokes his own, but the pork has travelled a fair distance; this is not pig country – too hot. I miss English ham…