Thursday, 20 October 2016

Drive Thru Sue Sourdough THM:E - Day #2, Baking Day

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Please check out all the pages related to making THM:E Sourdough Bread!


On Baking Day:

You can bake a portion of the bread any time in the next 1-4ish days.  There are a few considerations to how long the dough can hold up in the fridge, but I'll get to those in a later post.  For now, here are the basic instructions.

Start 2 hours before you want to have hot, fresh bread, straight out of the oven.

If you have a new batch of dough (already rested overnight) you'll first need to save about 1/5 of the batch as your sourdough starter which will rise your next batch.  That's right - you don't need any more of the wild yeast starter!  Your bread dough will be it's own starter!!  

You don't need to get all particular about cutting the dough - a piece that makes a ball that fits roughly between your 2 hands (about the size of a softball or grapefruit) is around the right size.  Again, this is very forgiving!!  Baseball sized would be a bit small, so make it softball sized and you're fine.  I usually take my starter piece and put it in a sandwich ziplock.  That keeps it from oozing back together with my baking dough, and keeps me from accidentally cooking it.

For the remaining dough, cut it into 4 roughly equal pieces.  You'll find that each of them are also around a softball size, maybe a bit smaller, but that's fine.  Usually I just take a sharp knife and cut the dough into 4 pieces right in the container.  Sometimes I roughly shape each piece into a ball and put them back, sometimes I just peel out the piece I want to bake today and leave the rest, flat and oozed into the bottom.  I don't think it really matters.

Now for the fun, easy, Drive-Thru-Sue baking instructions!

  • For baking today, you'll want to tear off a piece of parchment paper (NOT wax!) and set it on a wooden cutting board, or the back of a baking sheet.  This will make it easy to move to the oven to bake, after it's risen.  You'll nee a piece around 8x8", but the whole width of the roll is fine - no need to trim it smaller.
  • Take one of your 4 pieces of cut dough into your hands.  It will be cold and rather stiff and shouldn't really stick to your hands.
  • As you form your loaf, you don't want to smash and deflate the bubbles, but you do want to form it into a ball or fat log.  The way to do this is to gather the dough into a rough ball, then smooth and stretch the surface of the dough, down towards the bottom.  Pretend that the center of the ball is solid and you're stretching plastic wrap over the whole outside, making it nice and tight.  Stretch and turn, stretch and turn, until the ball is rather smooth-ish and you've gathered something of a knot of extra dough near the bottom.  10-20 seconds is all it will take, once you've got the hang of it.  If you want a longer loaf - instead of turning it evenly as you smooth, just smooth down on 2 sides.  The ends might need folded under at the end to prevent them being too skinny and dry.  
  • Place your dough onto the parchment-lined cutting board, and leave it for an hour.  From pulling your cold dough out to forming and placing on the parchment should take around 1 minute, once you've done it a couple of times and have the feel of it.
  • After an hour, you'll notice that the dough hasn't really risen at all.  It won't even be much warmer.  But believe me, those yeasts are waking up and getting ready for their final big show in the oven.  If you have a flat baking/pizza stone, place it in the center of the oven now and heat the oven to 450.  Set the timer for 30 minutes.  The stone needs to be all the way to 450 AND the dough needs another 30 minutes to rise while it heats. (if you'll be baking on a metal pan, you can wait and add it to the oven about 2 minutes before the dough)
  • After the 30 minute pre-heat, you're ready to bake!  Get about 8 ice cubes ready at the side of your oven.  The ice will melt and release steam when your bread goes in, and for 1-2 minutes after you shut the door.  The steam will keep the crust from drying out immediately and will let the loaf rise higher.  If you're using a metal pan, put it in now for just a couple of minutes.
  • Bring the loaf (on it's cutting board) over to the stove.  Get a serrated knife, and cut about 4-5 slashes diagonally across your loaf, about 1/4 deep.  If you don't slash, the loaf will tear and split any-old-place as it rises, the loaf will look terrible, and might not slice very nicely.  Space your slashes about 1" apart, but don't get too fussy.  
  • As soon as you have slashed, immediately open the oven and slide the parchment & loaf onto the baking sheet.  Toss the ice cubes right onto the floor of your oven, and close the door!
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes, then turn on the oven light!  I still like watching the ice melt and trying to see if I can detect the bread rising!!
  • After 30 minutes, the crust should be a nice light brown.  I usually just grab it with a pot holder and place it on a cooling rack, cutting board or kitchen towel.

Here are the short instructions, for when you don't need too much detail:
  1. Lay parchment on wooden cutting board
  2. Remove dough from fridge, smooth into ball/log, place on parchment, rise 1 hour.
  3. Place stone in oven, heat to 450, while rising 30 minutes.
  4. Get ice, slash loaf, slide into oven, add ice to oven floor, bake 30 minutes
It really is as quick and painless as those short instructions make it sound!  ALL of the 2 hours total is spent doing something else while waiting for the bread to rise or bake.

Bread really does work better if you let is cool - at least a little bit - before slicing.  It's so hot inside
that if you slice it immediately, the very hot moisture in the bread will condense onto the bread's newly cut & cooling end and make it a bit gummy.  Also, all the remaining moisture will rush out into the cool air, leaving the bread drier.  If you can stand to wait, 30 minutes or so would be good.  Or not.  Sometimes it's worth a bit of dampness to eat your first bite of hot-out-of-the-oven bread!

Nutritional Info for 1/4 of the small loaf
Remember that this in an E bread.  If you're having NO OTHER FAT anywhere in your
meal/snack, you can have almost 1 teaspoon butter.  The nutritional info on the right is for 1/4 of the entire loaf!!  You can see that you're only eating 1.3g of fat (E limit = 5g) and 26 carbs (E limit = 45).  You can have a bit of additional fat (a smear of butter or elsewhere in your meal) and a lot more carbs to complete your E meal.  Also, you're starting out with a nice 4.8g of protein.  Not quite enough for an entire meal, so be sure to add some more!

Since I'm still partial to fluffy store-bought bread, I'm not the biggest fan of this bread as a sandwich.  Even when I made enriched 50/50 bread, I still never liked 2 slices in one bite - just too much bread to chew!  My favorite ways to eat this bread are:
  • toasted (or not) with Peanut Butter Junkie (and banana!)
  • toasted with a Laughing Cow Light wedge (1 wedge will thickly cover 2-3 pieces of bread)
  • toasted (or not) with light mayo, mustard & lunch meat - like a sandwich but with only a bottom piece of bread
  • toasted with no toppings, dipped in E soup
As you can see, this bread is nice toasted.  Toasting crisps up the crust and also lightens the interior of the bread very nicely.

Please check out all the pages related to making THM:E Sourdough Bread!

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