As promised, the best sourdough bread I have ever made - dare I say it may be the best bread I have ever baked. Really, this bread was perfect - super thick crunchy crust on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with a bit of sweetness from the dates.
Making this bread takes a bit of effort, but is so worth the time. I was able to make this on Sunday morning, in between rises/resting I would set a timer for 30 minutes and clean the kitchen, fold a load of laundry or watch an episode of Sister Wives...I can't believe I just admitted I watch Sister Wives - it is so interesting though!
The main bulk of the dough is mixed together the night before and allowed to rise overnight. Active time the following morning is limited, you simply need to ensure you are around every 30 minutes to fold and reshape the loaves a total of 3 times (90 minutes) + 45 minutes of bake time.
Folding and reshaping the loaves is easy - simply fold each loaf into a letter, reshape seam side down and allow to rise for 30 minutes- repeat two additional times for a total of 3 reshaping/resting periods. The folding creates structure and traps air in between the layers of dough creating amazing texture and softness.
After the final resting period, the bread is baked in a pre heated 375* oven for 45 minutes. A sheet pan is placed on the lower rack in the oven during pre heating. When the bread is placed in the oven for baking, a few ice cubes plus a 1/2 cup of water is dropped onto the sheet pan - this will create steam which in turn helps create amazing thick crusted loaves of bread.
Originally I had planned to add rosemary to the dough...however I got sidetracked and completely forgot. I loved the added sweetness from the dates, rosemary would make this bread even more exceptional. I plan to make another batch of bread this weekend, this time I promise myself not to forget the rosemary!
Justin and I enjoyed this bread slathered with homemade strawberry jam , on the grille outside (my fave!), toasted in the oven with butter - really we just
inhaled enjoyed every last crumb. The second loaf went to my Mom, who loves bread just as much as I do.
Do you have a favorite version of Sourdough Bread you would like to share or recipes you love making with your sourdough starter?
Date Sourdough Bread
makes 2 loaves of bread
you will need:
1 cup sourdough starter
5 cups AP Flour divided
2 Cups Rye Flour
2 1/2 cups water divided
20 dates soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
1 tbsp salt
Mix sourdough starter, 2 cups water and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Mix well; cover with a dish towel and let rise 8 hours or overnight.
The next morning, pit & soak your dates in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Add softened dates and 1/2 cup water to a food processor and process until fairly smooth - about 30-45 seconds.
Add the pureed dates & 2 cups of rye flour to the dough and mix well. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, knead in the remaining 2 cups of all purpose flour - more if needed to prevent dough from sticking to the surface hands. Knead dough until you have a soft, smooth dough ball.
Divide dough into 2 equal halves. Shape each half into a loaf (round, elongated round- whatever suites your fancy). Place each loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet - dust with flour and cover with a clean dish towel. Place in a warm area free of drafts for the first rise- 30 minutes.
After rise #1, with a gentle hand, fold each loaf like you would a letter onto (you want to try to avoid "deflating" the bread, your are trying to create pockets of air). Place the seam side down - dust with additional flour, cover to rise for an additional 30 minutes in the same location as the first rise.
After rise #2 - repeat and allow for the 3rd and final rise of 30 minutes.