One for the Sour, Two for the Dough

All through the pandemic’s shut downs, social isolations and maskings I resisted joining the crowd and never made sourdough bread. Things are starting to open up, so I made my first ever sourdough boule.

As it so happens I kept my copy of King Arthur Baking’s February 2022 catalog that has a recipe for multigrain sourdough, and as it happens, I bought a jar of King Arthur’s sourdough starter when I was in Vermont last summer. This starter has been nurtured in New England since the 1700’s. KAF recommends feeding their starter within 10 days after receiving it. Well, it was a bit longer for me… nearly 10 months. It was a lot of work to revive it, but it was certainly worth the effort!

I had most of the ingredients on hand, but had to make some substitutions. Apparently, malted wheat flakes are in short supply so I used rolled oats instead. To created the malt flavor I added 2 tablespoons of diastatic malt powder. I am also not a fan of sunflower seeds so substituted roasted pine nuts, which I crushed after roasting but before mixing into the dough. For some reason, lost in the mists of baking history, I had some KAF Artisan Bread Topping —perfect.

Other than those substitutions I followed KAF’s instructions below, which resulted in an outstanding loaf with a great crust and crumb. Oh! I almost forgot. I baked it in an Dutch over with extra steam from hot water poured in a hot pan at the bottom of the over when the bread was put in the over.

Sourdough Pine Nut Boule

INGREDIENTS
Soaker
• 1 cup (120g) rolled oatmeal
• 2/3 cup (152g) boiling water
• 2 Tbl Diastolic Malt Powder
Dough
• 1 cups (227g) ripe (fed) sourdough starter
• ¾ cup (170g) to ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (190g) lukewarm water
• 3 ½ cup (420g) bread flour
• ½ cup (71g) toasted pine nuts
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
Topping
• 1 – 2 tablespoon sesame seeds or The Works Bread Topping, or your favorite blend of seeds

METHOD
For the soaker

  1. Put the oatmeal and diastolic malt powder in a heat proof bowl and mix in boiling water.
  2. Stir until combined and cool to lukewarm

For the dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the ripe starter and ¾ cup of water, mix to combine
  2. Add the soaker and remaining ingredients, and mix and knead approx 8 minutes until you’ve made a soft dough, adding additional water or flour as needed.
  3. Cover the dough in the bowl, and let it rise until it’s almost doubled, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, and gently fold it over a few times to deflate it. Shape it into a large round.
  5. Place the round in a covered baker, about 4.2-quart and 10″ diameter, that’s been sprayed with non-stick baking spray and put on the cover. Let the loaf rise until it’s very puffy, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  6. Just before baking, brush with water, and sprinkle with seeds. Use a lame or a very sharp knife to make four slashes across the top of the loaf, in a crosshatch pattern.
  7. Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and uncover the loaf if in a covered baker, and continue to bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. (A loaf baked on a baking sheet will need to bake for 38 to 45 minutes total.)
  8. Remove the bread from the oven, let sit in the baker for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a rack.

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