Made with: ☑ Love ☐ Bacon
It’s November, which when I was unemployed meant that I was already a couple months into Bread Season. This? Was my first bread of the fall. It’s a versatile, vaguely sourdough bread that can sop up a sauce but does well on its own with a bit of butter.
In the past, I’ve baked this bread with the addition of a multigrain, raisin muesli and honey, or a jar of sliced kalamata olives with garlic and herbs, in both loaf and roll forms. In the future, sundried tomato boules are going to be a thing in our kitchen, and I might try for another sweeter version with honey and walnut.
At times I’m all about the cheaty bread that you don’t have to manipulate too much to get the ultimate delicious factor. This is one of those breads you really get to beat up. If you want a little arm exercise (and after kneading in 3 cups of flour, unless you’re a regular bread baker your arms will feel like they’ve gotten a light workout), go with this bread.
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1½ tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
- 5-6 cups all-purpose flour (or bread flour)
- 1 tbsp. salt
- Pour warm water into a large bowl or mixing bowl; add yeast and stir gently by hand. Wait approx. 5-10 minutes, until yeast begins to foam. Stir in (or mix in on low speed) sour cream, salt, honey/sugar, then add the first 2 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time until a wet dough forms. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the paddles into the bowl. By hand, stir in about 2 cups of flour to stiffen the dough.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Gradually knead about 1-1½ cups flour into the dough, until it's smooth and elastic.
- Oil or grease the bowl and place the dough back in; cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- When risen, punch dough down and divide into 2 equal lumps. Pull ragged edges underneath until your dough lumps are smooth and round; set on a shallow baking pan to rise again, covered, about 30 minutes. They should spread outwards more than upwards.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the loaves with an egg wash for a shinier crust, or leave plain (as I did in this instance). If desired, shallowly score the top of the loaves with a sharp knife or a kitchen razor (no more than ¼ inch deep).
- Bake 35-45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when you knock on the bottoms. If you want a thicker crust, during baking, use a spray bottle to mist the loaves with water every 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Before adding flour, add a 6 oz. jar of pitted, sliced kalamata olives with the brine; 1 tsp. garlic powder; 1 tsp. dried basil or pesto seasoning; ½ tsp. paprika; ½ tsp. crushed, dried rosemary; and ½ cup extra bread flour. Then, while kneading, add extra all-purpose flour to get the dough smooth (usually about ½-1 cup).
- Before adding flour, add ½ cup honey or sugar, 1 cup Bob's Red Mill (or other) muesli, and 3-4 tablespoons of extra water.
- After punching down dough, divide into 12-16 equal lumps and form smooth rolls. Set on a baking pan to rise 30 minutes; bake about 10-15 minutes less than you would the full-size loaves.