Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rosemary and Sea Salt Sourdough

My second wild yeast adventure. 

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to start my starter all over again. Yes, Audrey is no more. 

Starters are supposed to be OK in the fridge for a couple of days, but I guess I was gone a couple too many days. I remembered to remind D to feed the cat, but forgot to explain about feeding Audrey. By the time I came back from my visit to my family upstate, she had developed a grayish blue layer of liquid on top. This was not the normal liquid that starters often develop. This was gross and probably involved mold. Sigh. 

At least I know what I'm doing now, right?

This is a loaf of bread I baked right before I left. D often speaks fondly of the the rosemary-salt sourdough he would eat in Seattle when he spent a summer living with his aunt and uncle. He's requested that I make something like this several times, and I finally did. And it was delicious. 

We may have eaten the whole loaf in one day.

It was that good.

I had none of the issues that were involved in my previous sourdough attempt--the dough rose nicely. It was light and had a really nice hole structure. I figured all of this out and now Audrey is gone, and I'll need to gather some new yeast. 

Some notes on my changes to the recipe: The Urban Homestead recommends a "home steam injection" system of throwing a shot glass full of water on to the bottom of the oven (or spraying it from a spray bottle of water) every 5 or so minutes for the first 20 minutes of baking in order to create a nice, hard crust. In my experience with this recipe, this makes a crust that's a little too hard for our tastes. I threw in a shot of water at the bottom of the oven when I put the loaf in and left it at that. I still haven't tried baking it in a Dutch oven, which is supposed to create a really nice crust. 

I guess it will be at least two weeks before I try that one. 

This post has been submitted to Yeast Spotting, hosted by Wild Yeast Blog and Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.

Rosemary and Sea Salt Sourdough

Dough adapted from the ratio on Michael Ruhlman’s blog; Method adapted from The Urban Homestead

8 oz sourdough starter

16 oz bread flour

5 oz water (plus more as needed)
½ T coarse sea salt plus more for sprinkling on top
2 T chopped rosemary

In the bowl of a food processor with a "dough" setting, mix together the starter, bread flour, and water. Knead in the food processor for about 5 minutes. If the dough seems to dry, add a bit more water (this shouldn't be the case...I think that 5 oz might still be a little much, but that's based on the humidity in my apartment and the wetness of my starter...) Turn off the processor and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Pour and scrape the dough (it will be quite wet) onto a well-floured surface. Add the salt and chopped rosemary. Knead for about 6 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. The dough should form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down, kneading a bit more. Shape the dough into a boule and place it in either a bowl lined with a floured cloth or in a flour-dusted proofing basket. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

About 3 hours before you want to bake your bread, take it out of the fridge and let it rise/ferment.

After the boule has finished fermenting, preheat the oven to 500 with a baking stone on the middle rack. Sprinkle cornmeal on a peel, large wooden cutting board or piece of stiff cardboard. Turn your proofing basket upside down on top of the prepared peel. Slash the top (See photo) and sprinkle with coarse sea salt (this is to taste—we used about ½ t, but more wouldn’t have hurt).

When the oven has preheated, gently slide the boule from the peel and onto the baking stone. Toss in a shot glass of water (DON’T HIT THE STONE), close the oven and reduce heat to 450.

Bake for 25 minutes—resist the urge to open the oven door. After 20 minutes, carefully rotate the loaf. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. The loaf is done when it is golden brown and sounds hallow when you knock on it.

Carefully remove from the oven with your peel. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Makes 1 boule/loaf


  1. Replies
    1. See, Danae, this is why you need to do more savory baking. :P

  2. I feel like rosemary makes all things bread taste amazing! What a great loaf!

    And so sad about Audrey...hopefully her sister/brother will be just as delicious!

  3. I have a rosemary bush growing in my kitchen garden outside the back door, and I am always looking for new ways to use it. Your bread sounds beautiful. I'm so interested to see a sourdough recipe today as I had a really interesting conversation about sourdough starters with one of my husbands's colleagues this morning and it got me thinking I might like to start a starter!

    I'm very sorry about Audrey - she obviously made some wonderful breads, but hopefully your new starter will be just as lovely!

    1. It love making my own sourdough. You should definitely do it! (And thanks for the condolences).

    2. I highly recommend the Dutch oven baking method (I use a Le Creuset casserole). It has made all the difference in taking my bread from an amateur to a professional appearance. You get fabulous oven-spring, color, and a crusty rustic -looking slash.

  4. I'm a little jealous- I never had so much success with sourdough...

  5. Wow, what a great job! This loaf looks amazing, I will have to give it a shot! I always bake mine in a dutch oven and it works great!!
    Also, don't know if you would be interested, but some of us are starting a fun new sourdough baking group called Sourdough Surprises, where we bake fun and unexpected things with our starters. We would love to have you join us!

    1. I'll definitely join for next month! It sounds like fun. Thanks for the invite.


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