extra-tangy sourdough bread

I love sourdough bread, and the tangier the better. I was given a sourdough starter (by King Arthur) as a gift, and after feeding it for a bit I decided to try this recipe of theirs.

Now, I thought I totally screwed this one up. My dough was SOUP. There was no "molding" or "shaping"; I had to pour the "dough" into bread pans and pray. Especially since I had promised bread to people at a party and there was no time to start over. (Worse: the party was for the person who had given me the starter and I didn't want to demonstrate that I had massacred her present...)

What came out of the oven was actually bread, albeit not the kind of loaf one would expect (my loaves were roughly two inches high...). It was certainly edible and definitely sourdough. Lesson: always bake it anyway. Sometimes the oven gods are kind.

Recipe by King Arthur

* 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
* 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
* 5 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2 1/4 teaspoons salt

by weight-- more accurate:

* 8 ounces "fed" sourdough starter
* 12 ounces lukewarm water
* 21 1/4 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1/2 ounce sugar
* 2 1/4 teaspoons salt


1) Combine the starter, water, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously.

2) Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.

3) Add the remaining ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.

4) Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 5 hours.

5) Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.

6) Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 3 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

7) Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.

8) Make two fairly deep horizontal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.

9) Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it form the oven, and cool on a rack.

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