I grew up in California and lived on SF style sourdough bread. After moving to the Midwest I noticed it is not a stable at bakeries here, I guess it hasn't really caught on. I have been trying to make my own for a while and FINALLY had some success. Really sour sourdough!I bought a live culture from King Arthur Flour. It arrived a few days ago, and after feeding it, I started the two day process of making bread. This bread takes a little planning ahead. all the "resting" time is necessary to develop that truly sour flavor. And notice that there is no yeast in this bread!
Check out this loaf! And it was so crusty and sour. I used KAF's tip for getting a good crust (heat a cast iron skillet in the oven while preheating oven for one hour. Put loaves in and add a pitcher full of hot water to the skillet. Quickly shut oven door. Instant steam oven). Did I mention how delicious this bread is? This recipe came with the starter and isn't available on their site.
Extra Sour Sourdough
1cup fed starter
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 tsp salt
Pour the starter into a large non metal mixing bowl and add the warm water and 3 cups of flour. Beat well and cover with plastic wrap. Set bowl aside in cool room (65 to 70 degrees F) for 4 hours. Then refrigerate overnight or for about 12 hours.
Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and salt. Knead until dough is soft and smooth. (I hand kneaded the dough, slowly adding the salt and flour. It took quite a while to incorporate the flour into the dough so be prepared for a work out). Place dough in a greased bowl, turn and cover with plastic wrap and rest until puffy but not necessarily double, about 5 hours.
Divide dough in half and shape each half into an oval loaf. Place on a parchment covered or greased cooking sheet, cover and let rise until doubled, about 2-3 hours (mine took 3 hours and wasn't quite doubled).
When there is about one hour left of rising time, preheat oven to 425 and use above mentioned tip for creating a steam oven.
Slash tops of each loaf with sharp knife and bake until loaves are a golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Your kitchen will start smelling wonderful about now. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Try to wait til the loaves cool off a little before tearing into them but I will understand if you can't wait.