24-Hour Sourdough Bread

Published March 1, 2005.

Why this recipe works:

In buying a ready-made starter for our sourdough bread recipe, we produced a flavorful loaf while eliminating the weeks of intense babysitting that cultivating a home starter requires. Turning our attention to the next two time-consuming stages of a sourdough recipe—sponge development and… read more

In buying a ready-made starter for our sourdough bread recipe, we produced a flavorful loaf while eliminating the weeks of intense babysitting that cultivating a home starter requires. Turning our attention to the next two time-consuming stages of a sourdough recipe—sponge development and fermentation for the dough—we discovered that the time required for both steps could be reduced from two nights to just one day, again without sacrificing flavor. On a roll, we also tried to finish the third step—proofing the shaped loaves—on the same day, but we determined that they really did need to spend the time overnight in the refrigerator, since the loaves proofed at room temperature didn't achieve the same wonderfully irregular crumb and deep, nutty sourness.

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Makes Two 1 1/2-Pound Loaves

Once you have a healthy, refreshed starter (see related recipe for "Sourdough Starter Refreshment"), the bread will take about 24 hours (over the course of two days) before it is ready for baking. It is best to start the recipe in the morning, no more than 12 hours after the last feeding of the starter.

Ingredients

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