My First Sourdough Boule, the Olypmics and Snow Shoveling

Yesterday, I made my first sourdough boule. Also a first, this bread has things in it! Sunflower seeds and oatmeal, up till now the only thing I’ve ever put in my bread was raisins. But I found the recipe at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-boule-recipe, where I’ve been spending a lot of time since receiving some of their sourdough starter for Christmas (which is another story for another time) and they haven’t been wrong yet. I’m now feeding it every weekend and baking every weekend. I enjoy plotting my next bread adventure throughout the proceeding week.

This week, it was a boule, but I had to shovel all the snow from the driveway first. Since it took me two hours to shovel the 8+ inches we had fall on Thursday, I waited till I was back inside to even mix the boule, as I didn’t want it to rise for too long if I was out later than I expected.

Good thinking on my end, as I was outside for about 2 hours. I went a bit gung-ho and shoveled everything that needed it at all, more than I ever have before. Once I was warmed up, I got the dough mixed, which was easy enough. As the directions say to “mix and knead … until you’ve made a soft dough”, I didn’t leave it in the stand mixer any longer than that.

Tucked it into the bed to rise (we have a water bed that runs around 75º under all the covers and as we’ve been keeping it around 55° inside this works best to accomplish rising in any semblance of a ‘normal’ amount of time) and watched the Olympics on NBC until the time came to shape it.

I was stuck for what to bake it in (having only a very large Dutch oven) until my fiancé remembered a Pampered Chef Stoneware Baking Bowl his mother had given me, it seemed the perfect size, but I wasn’t certain as the recipe simply said ‘One large loaf’, which is relative.

Put it in the baking bowl after shaping and back into bed it went.

Time came to bake it and the method given in the recipe seemed a bit odd to me. Put it in a cold oven?! I know that I didn’t want to crack the bowl, but it still felt odd. Then, there was the added complication of baking it covered, so I couldn’t see it and watch it bake, which I consider part of the fun.

45 minutes later, it came out and easily flipped onto a rack to cool. The baking bowl ended up being the perfect size. Wanted to let it cool entirely, so…

Fast forward to this afternoon, when we finally (after returning from church) finally sliced it open and had a taste. It could have baked a little longer, but was still done. He toasted it and we ate it with some butter and honey spread on top. It tasted far better than I expected, as I feared a case of too many things in my bread. I’m not a fan of having to floss after eating bread, but I loved the nuttiness that this had. He thinks with a bit more practice and it will taste as good as any rustic loaf one can get from a bakery.

All in all, not bad for my first time baking a boule in a bowl.

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