As so many are these days I began to bake bread again once the Covid quarantine started back in end of February. I used to bake bread, years and years ago, but for whatever reason, stopped. But now I am baking again, which is pretty funny because I don't even eat bread now (I eat low carb). But my husband has the metabolism of a teenage boy, and typically goes through a half a loaf of bread a day. So I bake bread or rolls several times a week, often sourdough.
I put together this recipe today because I had a fair amount of “discard” (unfed sourdough starter) in my refrigerator that I wanted to use up. Note that my starter is made with AP flour in a 1:1 ratio. The result below is a 76% hydration dough.
Sourdough Discard Bread
400g unfed sourdough starter discard cold from the fridge (note this is 200 g AP flour and 200 g water)
300 g bread flour
180 g lukewarm water (between 105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 tsp (about 12g) sea salt
1 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast (not quite 5 grams)
1 tsp sugar or honey (a little over 4 grams)
Optional: 2 TBSP of vital wheat gluten (useful if your starter is made with AP flour.)
Into a large bowl pour the discard, water, and sugar. Stir to dissolve and then add the yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
Add the flour and vital wheat gluten if using it and gently mix using your hands or a spatula. This will form a rough and shaggy dough.
Add in the sea salt and gently mix until absorbed.
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes covered by a towel.
After the rest, with wet hands perform a stretch and fold around all four sides of the dough (for a total of four, rotating the bowl each time, so north, east, south, west.) The dough will seem wet and still shaggy.
Gently form the dough into a ball and let it rest for 40 minutes, covered with a towel.
Repeat the stretch and fold four
times as above. Let it rest another 40 minutes.
Do this twice more, for a total of four stretch and folds. At the end of these the dough will become smooth and elastic and less sticky.
At the end of the fourth fold dump the dough onto a floured surface, and flour your hands. Gently pre-shape the dough into either a boule, a batard, or a loaf.
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes uncovered. Preheat your oven now to 475 degrees F.
Do a final shape of the dough into
the shape of your choice, ensuring good surface tension. If you wish you can
score the dough.
Cook in a Dutch oven, loaf pan or on a baking stone. If using a Dutch oven cover the dough for the first 30 minutes or so. Depending on your flour used and the container, the bread will take between 30 to 40 minutes to be done, and should be golden brown. One test for doneness is temperature: the interior should reach between 205 to 210 degrees F, but also note the color of the bread’s surface, if it looks light give it more time.
Let the bread cool for at least an hour or two before slicing. Enjoy!