Ever have one of those moments when you’re on the verge of disaster, and you cannot for the life of you figure out what when wrong? I just did.
Another bread…and sourdough none the less. I found this recipe on the Food Network site, and it was Alton Browns (I really dig him!). The recipe had several great reviews, and it shouted “simple”. So I went for it. Knead-not means I knead-not use my new stand mixer. Oh well, plenty of future opportunities. This certainly didn’t turn out how I anticipated; I thought it was ruined before I even baked it. The dough was really lose and sticky, and after letting it rise for about 24 hours, I was supposed to punch it down, take it out and make it into a ball. I really didn’t see how that was possible because I had a super sticky mess. Was it possibly that I didn’t convert ounces to cups properly? Yes. Was it possible that I somehow didn’t add enough flour? Yes. Was it possible that I added too much water? Unlikely I only know this because the measuring cup had ounces on it and I remember filling it to 12.
Anyway, the point is that there are several things I could have done wrong, and I have no idea what it was. It is slightly possible that I did everything right, and it was just supposed to be sticky. Either way, when I turned out my sticky dough onto my heavily floured countertop, I dumped in about 1/2 – 3/4 cup flour just so that I was able to work with it and it wouldn’t stick to my countertop. I worked in the extra flour and then let it rest for another few hours before I baked it. It didn’t rise anymore, as the recipe said it should have, and I was confident that it was ruined. I baked it as directed anyway, seeing as though I’d made it this far, and surprisingly, it turned out really well! The outside was crunchy and crusty, while the inside was soft and chewy. However, it did not have the traditional tang of a sourdough. It was mildly tangy, but not what you’d hope for in a sourdough. At least it wasn’t a total disaster as I originally thought it would be. And it was perfect for dipping in my roasted tomato and basil soup.
Source: Adapted from Alton Brown
Servings: 1 loaf
17.5 ounces bread flour, plus extra for shaping
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
12 ounces filtered water
2 tbsp cornmeal
1. Whisk together flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water and stir until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 19 hours (mine sat for closer to 30).
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Punch the dough down and turn over itself several times. Cover with tea towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, with floured hands, shape dough into ball. Sprinkle tea towel with 1 tbsp cornmeal. Place dough on cornmeal and sprinkle the rest of the cornmeal over the top of the dough. Cover with tea towel and allow to rest for 2 to 3 hours, until dough has doubled in size.
3. Place dutch oven in oven and preheat to 450 degrees. When the dough is ready, transfer to the Dutch oven, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.