Monday, March 17, 2014

GF 24-hour Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is a very traditional sourdough bread recipe, using artisan methods to create a nice, tangy, San Francisco-style sourdough bread.  If you like a really sour-but-smooth sourdough bread, this is the recipe for you.

There are just a few differences between this recipe and a standard wheat-based recipe.  The most notable difference, of course, is the psyllium husk, which is a gluten substitute.  Read more about psyllium and other binders here.  Then of course there's the flour.  I use the No. 7 Bread Artisan Bread Flour for bread baking, but if you live outside the U.S. read my post Make Your Own Gluten-free Bread Flour.  If you use your own flour blend, you may have to adjust the amount of water and psyllium you use.

Why sourdough?  It's incredibly delicious, for one thing.  The natural process of fermenting the bread through the sourdough process makes it really good for you, too.  Then there's the fact that sourdough bread stays fresh much longer than regular bread.  It will stay soft and flexible for about four days, and it can stay good for a week or two on the counter without molding - even in damp climates like Portland, Oregon where I live.

If the sound of spending 24 hours making bread intimidates you, let me reassure you that it really isn't very much work.  Most of the time is spent in letting the bread rise.  There is actually very little active time in this recipe - in fact, baking sourdough bread is much more flexible than baking bread with commercial yeast.  Also, the schedule is extremely flexible to allow for your schedule, whatever it might be.  I usually mix the dough after work and then bake the bread the next night, and I developed this recipe to easily fit into a "bake the next day" scenario.  I have put notes in the recipe where you can fudge the timing - even for hours or days.  Only the last rise is time sensitive and takes some attention to the dough.

24-hour Sourdough Bread Recipe

First mix: 10 minutes
First rise: 16-24 hours
Second mix: 5 minutes
Second rise: 2-4 hours
Bake time: 45  minutes

Whisk together until blended in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a fork:

490 g Spring Water (don't use tap water or any chlorinated water)
1 packet whole psyllium husk (20-40 grams, or enough for 450 g flour if you are using your own flour blend)

Mix into the liquid with the paddle attachment or by hand with a wooden spoon:

328 g No. 7 Bread Flour
50 grams wild yeast Sourdough Starter (@120% hydration)
12 g (1 TBSP) sugar

The dough will be pretty wet, like the photo to the right.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 16-24 hours.  The longer it rises, the more the dough builds its sour flavor. (If you need to go longer than 24 hours on the first rise, put the dough in the refrigerator after 6-12 hours.  You can leave it in fridge for up to a day or maybe three, but let it get back up to room temperature before the next step.)

The dough should have doubled in size by the 12-hour mark at room temperature.  After that time you won't see much difference but it will still build flavor.

When the first rise is done, punch the dough down.

Knead into the dough by hand or with the dough hook on your stand mixer:

100 g bread flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
12 g (1 TBSP) sugar

When the flour in completely incorporated into the dough, make a ball of the dough by hand, bringing the seams to one side so the ball is continuous dough on the other side.  Place the dough ball seam-side down on floured parchment paper.  The dough will be tacky and a little shaggy, so just do the best you can.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Spritz the top of the dough with a little water.  Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap so the plastic is touching the dough to keep the water in, but it's loose enough to let the dough expand while it's rising.  Invert a large bowl over the bread while it rises for 2-4 hours.  Check it regularly after the 2 hour mark to see if it's ready to bake. You will know the bread is ready to bake when it has risen quite a bit and a finger mark gently poked against the surface of the dough doesn't fill in immediately anymore.  Once it passes the "finger test" heat your oven to 450 degrees F with a cast-iron dutch oven inside.  Now you can shape the loaf.

Shape the bread into a slightly tighter ball by tucking the sides of the dough underneath all around the edge.

Let the shaped dough rest while the oven heats for 15-30 minutes.  Just before baking, score the loaf with a sharp knife, making 1/2 inch slashes.  A cross-hatch pattern is traditional for sourdough bread in the San Francisco style.

Carefully take the hot dutch oven out of the oven.  Grab the parchment paper by the edges and lift the bread into the hot dutch oven.  Before putting the lid back on the pot, spritz the inside of the dutch oven several times with water.  Place the lid on the pot and return it to the hot oven.  

Bake the bread for 20 minutes at 450.  Then, take the bread out of the dutch oven, remove the parchment paper if you can, and place the bread on the rack.  It should be lightly browned by now.  (If the bread doesn't brown, it's because the skin dried out.  You may have to brush it with oil or butter to get it to brown.)  Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the top crust is deeper brown and hard.  The bread should sound crisp on the surface and hollow in the middle when tapped on the top.  Once it is done, you can take it out of the oven and cool on a rack for a chewy crust.  For a crispy crust leave it in the oven, turn off the burner, and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.  Leave the bread in the oven until cool.

Bread is difficult to slice while still warm.  For better slices and a tangier flavor, wait a few hours or overnight before slicing.  If you just can't wait to try it, at least let the bread cool for 20-30 minutes or so before cutting into it.

Enjoy some artisan sourdough bread!  It will stay soft for up to 4 days on the counter in a plastic bag.   Putting it in a paper bag will keep the crust crispy.


Vicki Montague said...

Wow! This looks amazing. I have recently started experimenting with sourdough and am having lots of fun. I need to get some gluten free pysillium and give this a go!

Gina Kelley said...

Thanks Vicki! Making sourdough bread is really fun. I like using psyllium because it hold well enough to do free-standing loaves like this one, but the bread is still soft and flexible inside. I've combined it with other things before, like chia and flax seed, but psyllium is a great one-ingredient binder. Let me know how your experiments turn out!

Valerie said...

I'm excited to bake this bread! I just finished mixing the first mix. This is my first time baking with psyllium, and I'm a bit nervous about it- my dough was very sticky, almost gelatinous. Is this normal?

Anonymous said...

This recipe is great. It's exactly what I've been looking for, close to regular bread with no eggs and no gums! I follow a low FODMAP diet so I don't have to be strictly GF, I can tolerate a bit of spelt. I experimented with using a small amount of wheat based sourdough starter which I fed up with a mix of brown rice/millet, sorghum and spelt flour and I use the same mix for the initial mix the and add starches for the second knead/mix. This process and mix of flours seemed to work really well for me. I've also made a regular loaf and bread rolls using mini loaf tins with the mix. Thanks for the recipe!