San Francisco Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread, like many other ethnic recipes, was probably taken to the New World by European immigrants, there, in time, to evolve into a genuine ”American speciality. This version of Sourdough Bread comes from San Francisco and is famous throughout the United States. If you prefer, the loaves may be baked in the shape of French bread rather than in a round, as suggested here – both are traditional. San Francisco Sourdough Bread has a moist, slightly chewy flavour and tastes quite magnificent with lots of butter and cheese.

3 lb. strong white flour

2 tablespoons sugar

½ tablespoons salt li- pints water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon butter

8 oz. strong white flour

4 oz. sugar

16 fl. oz. milk

First make the starter. In a large screw-top container, combine all the starter ingredients, beating with a fork until they form a smooth paste. Screw on the lid and set aside in a warm place for between 3 and 4 days.

Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a very large, warmed mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the starter, water and oil. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 5 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Cover it with a clean damp cloth and set it in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours or until the dough has risen slightly.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 ‘F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C). With the teaspoon of butter, grease a large baking sheet and set aside.

Turn the dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes. Cut the dough into two equal pieces and shape each piece into a thick round, about 6-inches in diameter. With a sharp knife, make a deep cross on the top of each round.

Place the rounds, well spaced apart, on and San Francisco Sourdough Bread are best spread with lots of butter. the prepared baking sheet and place the sheet in the oven. Bake the bread for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and tip the loaves off the baking sheet. Rap the undersides with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If it does not sound hollow, lower the oven temperature to warm 325 F (Gas

Mark 3, 170°C), return the loaves to the oven, upside-down, and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes.

Cool the loaves on a wire rack.

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