Rustic Autumn Harvest Sourdough
In honor of *finally* launching my revamped website, I'm celebrating with bread. Or, more specifically, a bread recipe.
My fourth novel, Stones for Bread, officially releases November 5th. I have to admit, however, in my research for the book, I've become rather obsessed with wild yeast (also known as sourdough) breads. And now that the weather is cool, it's the perfect time for baking.
I created this recipe to help use up some of the apples Claire and I picked while learning about the letter A. Because, well, A is for Apple, you know.
Rustic Autumn Harvest Sourdough (makes 3 loaves)
Combine 1 cup sourdough starter, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, and 1 cup water in a glass bowl. Knead into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise overnight.
The next day, use a grater to shred 4 cups (about 6 medium-sized) of apples. Mix apples with 1/2 cup sugar and let rest for about 10 minutes. Combine the starter mixture with 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup white whole wheat flour, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons salt, the apple mixture (quite a bit of "juice" will be in the bowl with the apples - make sure you include this liquid into the dough), 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, 2/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries, 1 tablespoon apple pie spice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. Knead for about 5-8 minutes by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Cover and allow to rise for 2 to 4 hours, until double in size.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into three equal parts. The dough will be quite soft; you'll want to keep you hands wet while you shape each piece of dough into a free-form loaf. (You can use a couche or proofing baskets, if you have them.) Place each loaf on a sheet of parchment paper, cover with olive oil-coated plastic wrap, and proof for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone inside. Move loaves into the oven (I baked two together, and then the third, because all three wouldn't fit on my stone). Spray the oven walls with water several times (or, just toss 1/4 cup water into the oven) and close the door. Repeat three more times at one-minute intervals. Lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.
Allow to cool for at least an hour before slicing. Enjoy!