Sourdough French Bread
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup milk (any type, but I prefer whole milk)
1 1/8 tablespoons sugar
2 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/8 ounces shortening
1/2 pound flour
1. Combine milk, sugar, salt, and shortening in a pan. Heat until
shortening melts, then cool to lukewarm (about 45°C) .
2. Stir milk into starter. Add flour gradually, forming dough
that pulls away from sides of the bowl.
3. Knead until smooth (about 15 min.), adding flour as needed
to keep the dough from sticking to the board. When done, the dough will be
fairly heavy,but smooth in texture.
4. Place in a well-greased bowl and raise in a warm place until
5. Form into a long loaf (about 40 cm long). Place on a greased
baking sheet and let rise again, until almost doubled.
6. Cut diagonal slits in top of loaf with a sharp knife, and bake
in a 400° oven until done, about 30-35 min.
7. Remove from pan, and let cool in a draft-free location.
This is a hearty bread, possibly heavier than many people are
The flavor is wonderfully tangy, and complements just about any
meal. Try it with garlic butter! This bread is slow rising. I usually spend
two days on it - start the dough one day, let it rise overnight, then form the
loaf and bake the next day.
Be careful that the milk mixture has cooled before adding it
to the starter.
If it's too hot, you'll kill the starter and the bread won't rise.
Since the dough rises for a long time, I usually cover it with a damp
towel to keep it from drying out. If you want a chewy crust, brush the top
of the loaf with a mixture of corn starch and water before baking. Also,
placing a pan of water in the oven makes a crustier loaf.
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