Prep2 hrs 30 mins
Soft crust, tangy sourdough flavor makes this one of my favorite sourdough bread recipes. A response to those who feel the bread is not sour enough. The taste of the bread relies heavily on the 'sourness' of the starter, which varies from area to area. Here is a suggestion from King Arthur Flour on making bread 'more sour', hope it helps: In general, you can achieve a more sour taste by allowing the dough to ferment for a longer time at a lower temperature. However, the climate you live in and the strains of wild yeast naturally present in the air around you also influence how sour your bread turns out. Some bakers add some extra zing by adding "sour salt" -- not actually a salt at all, but pure citric acid. (This is available through mail order from The King Arthur Baker's Catalogue(R) at 1-800/827-6836)
- Bring sourdough starter to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl combine 2-1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside.
- In a saucepan heat and stir water, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm (120-130 deg.) and butter almost melts.
- Add to flour mixture.
- Add sourdough starter.
- Beat with until mixed and smooth, scraping bowl.
- Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
- On a lightly floured surface knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.
- Shape into a ball.
- Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.
- Cover and let rise until doubled.
- Punch dough down.
- Turn out on a lightly floured surface.
- Divide in half.
- Cover and let rise for 10 minutes.
- Lightly grease a large baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Shape each half of the dough into a ball, place on baking sheet, flatten to about a 6-inch circle.
- With a sharp knife make crisscross slashes, 1/4 inch deep, on the top of the loaves.
- Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375-deg.
- After heated place bread in oven and steam.
- Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes, or till bread tests done.
- Cool on a wire rack.