The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Aging Starter Brought to Life

flournwater's picture

Aging Starter Brought to Life

One of the more common recurring questions on this forum is "why do I have to throw away half of my starter" or "isn't there something I can do with the abundance of starter I've accumulated".  Many of us have responded to those types of questions with suggestions on how the excess starter can be used, but I rarely see an actual recipe for building a loaf of bread in the responses.  So here's a recipe that I developed today (my healthy starter was getting to the use it or lose it point) which provided bread for our dinner this evening.  It's a simple white bread, nothing exotic, but it's tender and flavorful and makes a very nice sandwich bread.

500 grams 100% hydration starter
250 grams bread flour
7 grams active dry yeast
11 grams salt

Proof the yeast in a small amount of warm water.
Put starter in bowl of standing mixer, add bread flour and salt and mix briefly with paddle attachment on slow speed.
When all ingredients are roughly combined, then add the yeast and continue mixing until ball is formed.
Exchange paddle attachment for dough hook and knead for 8 - 10 minutes or until the dough passes the window pane test.
Form the dough into smooth ball, pulling the out edges downward and into the center of the bottom.  Place the dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside in warm place and allow to rest until double in bulk.
Remove dough from the oiled bowl and flatten it with your hands to about half its former thickness, then stretch it into a rectangle and fold the long ends of the rectangle toward the center (like folding an envelope) then turn 90 degrees, stretch and repeat the fold.  Stretch once again and fold one side into the center, bring the opposite side to the center and press the edges together to form a sealed edge.  Fold the dough in half and seal the edges where they meet.  Use the palms of your hands to roll the dough on the counter to form a log at least 8 inches but not more than 9 inches long.  Shape this into a loaf approx. 8 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches and load into a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan (I use a silicone pan), cover and set aside until at least double in size.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Slash the top of the loaf in three adjacent angular slashing moves, approx. 1/4 inche deep, and brush the top of the loaf with melted butter.  Load the pan into the lower third portion of the oven and allow to bake for 10 - 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for another 20 minutes and check internal temperature.  I remove mine when internal temp. is 210 degrees.  Allow to cool for five minutes in the loaf pan before removing it from the pan onto a cooling rack.  Allow to rest and continue cooling for one hour before slicing.
Use a sharper knife than I did and you won't get those waves through the face of the crumb. 

Now, go feed the remainig starter.

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brewninja's picture

I like this idea a lot.  Like using the starter as a poolish (quite an aged poolish, likely). A quick way to add a lot of flavor to a loaf.

summerbaker's picture

Very practical.  Not only are you not throwing flour down the drain (in the form of starter), you're also having to use less new flour in the final dough, of course.