Berkley Sourdough Bread

Our family recently spent a day in San Francisco. We were welcomed by beautiful blue skies, something you don't find often in San Francisco - especially in mid January.
As we were walking along the Wharf, I noticed a crowd gathered around a bakery window. I thought nothing of it as we walked on by. There were people stopped all along the Wharf - listening to musicians, admiring handmade jewelry, reading historical plaques, and even drooling over confections in window displays.

It wasn't until we walked back past the bakery, that I caught a glimpse of what the crowd was excited about. Amazing sourdough bread sculptures! Turtles, and crabs. Alligators and even octopus. The crowds were watching the bakers through the windows of The Bourdin Bakery.
I did some research and found the recipe used in the Bourdin Bakery.

Oh how I want to make a turtle creation of my own!

What Do I Need?
For the starter:
1 piece of starter the size of a tangerine (kept out at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours or in the refrigerator for a few days)
2 cups warm water
2 cups organic, unbleached white or all-purpose flour

For the dough:
2 1/2 cups organic, unbleached white or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup starter from the previous step
3/4 cup cool water
Cooking oil (to grease the bowl)

a mixing bowl
a food processor (optional)
a large spoon
a baguette tray or parchment-lined baking tray
a razor blade
a spray bottle

What Do I Do?
1. Break up the starter, dilute it in the water, and mix in the flour. Cover this mixture loosely and set it aside in a warm spot for 18–24 hours or until it is quite bubbly.
TipCovering the dough as it rises helps to avoid moisture loss and contamination.
2. Mix the flour and salt together in a food processor fitted with the plastic dough blade. Pour the starter in and pulse the machine several times to mix the ingredients. Then, with the machine running, slowly add the water and continue mixing for a few minutes (If you don’t have a food processor, simply mix the dough in a bowl for about 5 minutes, until it forms a ball.)
3. Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it on a well-floured work table and round it into a ball.
4. Let the dough rise in a well-oiled bowl, covered, in the refrigerator for 12–15 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up at room temperature for 2 hours.
5. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, and stretch them into tight baguette shapes. Place each one on a baguette tray or a parchment-lined baking tray.
6. Cover the baguettes and let them rise for 6–7 hours, until they have doubled in size.
7. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
8. Using a sharp razor blade, slash the tops of the loaves diagonally 3 or 4 times (this will allow them to expand more easily while baking) and spray them with a fine mist of water from a spray bottle.
9. Place the loaves in the oven and immediately spray them, along with the walls and floor of the oven, with water. Repeat this step after about 5 minutes of baking.
10. Bake the loaves 25–30 minutes, until they are entirely golden and the crust is crisp and blistered.

Try you hand at some these bread sculptures found at the Bourdin Barkery:


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