Image: Makito Inomata
There's nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven — especially when the end result is as good as this delicious sourdough.
- 8 cups bread flour
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups sourdough starter*
- 2 to 2⅓ cups Tofino Brewing Company Tuff
- Session Ale or other pale ale
- 2½ tbsp salt
1 Place the flour, yeast and sourdough starter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Begin to mix at low speed; add about three-quarters of the ale and continue to mix for 5 minutes. The dough should be moist but not overly sticky — if it’s too dry, add more ale until the desired consistency is reached. Turn the machine up to medium speed and mix for another 5 minutes. Add the salt and continue to mix on medium speed for a few more minutes, until blended.
2 Remove the dough and knead until its surface is very smooth. Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put aside in a warm space to allow the dough to come to life, 30 to 45 minutes. (Technically, this is the autolyse stage, when the flour is absorbing the liquids and its enzymes are breaking down the starches and proteins.) Once the dough has expanded slightly and is moist but springy to the touch, divide it into four pieces, then shape each into a ball.
3 Let the balls of dough rest for 10 minutes covered with a cloth, then place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cover with the cloth again (you may need to divide them between two baking sheets). Place the baking sheet in a warm space to allow the dough to rise until it’s nearly doubled in size, 3 to 4 hours.
4 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Using a serrated knife, slash the tops of the loaves once down the middle, then place the baking sheet in the oven. Using a spray bottle, spritz some water around the inside of the oven to create a bit of steam, then bake the loaves until they’re a nice golden colour, 15 to 20 minutes.
*Sourdough Starter: You can buy sourdough starter at some specialty shops and bakeries or order it online. Alternatively, you can make your own: In a non-reactive bowl, mix a 2¼-tsp package of active dry yeast, 2 cups flour and 2 cups warm water, and cover loosely. Leave the starter in a warm place to ferment for about a week. It will be ready when it is bubbly and has a pleasantly tangy aroma. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. Remember, the starter will last for years as long as you continue to feed it. Store it in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. Once a week, mix ¼ cup sourdough starter with ¼ cup lukewarm water and just under ½ cup flour, then stir the mixture back into the starter. And be sure to replenish the starter whenever you use any of it: Replace the portion you’ve removed from the container with equal amounts of water and flour as well as a pinch of sugar to keep it well fed.
Makes 4 loaves
Excerpted from The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature's Edge by Wickaninnish Inn. Recipes Copyright © 2018. Photography copyright © 2018 Makito Inomata. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved.