I was over the top when Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial offered to send me a piece of Priscilla her sourdough starter. I was worried too…what if Canada Customs opens the small envelope to discover some weird flaky powder? Would I be arrested? Would it be confiscated? Yes, I was wringing my hands with worry for the entire 12 days poor old Bob travelled to us. 12 days for almost 16,000 kilometres! That’s amazing, isn’t it? It often takes Canada Post 12 days to get mail to me from downtown Toronto, a mere 9 km away! But that’s a whole other rant. 😉
Yes, we named him Bob because we thought it was funny, Bob the starter! Good old Bob came back to life quite nicely and quickly, just as the lovely Celia’s instructions said he would. I chose a King Arthur Sourdough Bread Recipe because I was unable to find 00 bread flour so I needed an All Purpose Flour Recipe. Bob made a very nice first loaf and the remainder of Bob was dried and put into an airtight jar for safekeeping. I’m hoping Bob will provide many loaves for us in the future.
Now I have to come clean, I wasn’t feeling the greatest when I made this recipe, in fact it was my first time out of bed over the last two days (weekend days, no less; nothing serious, just a silly head cold, but they always get me in my sinuses and therefore affects my train of thought). For some reason, I completely skipped over the instant yeast, didn’t even see it! Can you believe it? I usually forget the salt!!!! Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I wondered if something was amiss when the bread didn’t rise as much as I thought it should…but I persevered and son of Bob went into the oven in a dutch oven (hedging my bets) and baked as per directions. Not bad for the mistake and first try. Thank you Celia, I am so grateful you sent me the son of Priscilla!
Makes 1 very large boulle
- 227 g “fed” sourdough starter
- 340 g cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (don’t forget this step, nudge nudge, wink wink)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 602 g Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- Combine all of the ingredients (including the instant yeast) and knead until you get a relatively smooth but loose dough.
- Place in a lightly greased bowl and allow to rise several hours (or until double in size). I did a few risings for obvious reasons! Shape the dough into a smooth boule.
- Slightly warm a cast iron dutch oven (make sure the handle can take the heat) and dust with fine cornmeal. Allow the boule to rise in the dutch oven for one hour.
- Pre heat the oven to 425° F (218° C). Bake the boule with the lid on for approximately 30-35 minutes, remove the top and bake a further 5-8 minutes or until the boule is golden in colour (internal temperature should be about 190° F (88° C).
- Sourdough bread dough is much looser than normal bread dough so expect a shaggy result after the first kneading.
- We don’t eat that much bread (to keep the tonnage in check) so I didn’t think I would use Bob quickly, therefore I decided to dry Bob out in the oven with only the light on. He will wait for us whenever we need him in an air-tight container in a dark spot in my pantry.
- I’ve read recipes on-line where they add butter to the dough but most implied it’s not for amateurs so I will try it next time (hopefully I don’t forget the yeast next time!).
- Sadly, Bob came to an unfortunate end this morning when someone turned on the oven while Bob was drying out in it. RIP Bob.