Yesterday's satisfying Sourdough Bread with Cornmeal was a real triumph.
Though I have way too many bread cookbooks--several purchased in the last year and delightful to read/try--this time it was the Google that led to Israeli Kitchen because I'm a big fan of cornmeal.
To begin, I needed to refresh my starter. But then I put it off--back into the fridge. Finally, impatient with myself, made my move. I had to build up my starter to get a cup of the stuff. Perhaps it was my new oven thermometer that fueled my resolve. Now I could monitor my dinky stove with more accuracy. Whatever.
The recipe is so straightforward unlike some that seem to be testing one's resolve to figure out exactly why the writer makes the process complicated. One night, I mixed the sponge.* Next morning it looked as described, "...light, pocked with bubbles."
Began stirring in the added flour by hand, quickly realized it was time for the dough hook on my old, dependable Kitchen Aid mixer. Some days I wonder if the motor will continue to hold up, all these years later. Took a long time, produced an elastic well-kneaded, wet dough, almost impossible to handle, yet ready for shaping.
Wish Ron had been nearby to take photos. It was pretty hilarious as I turned the bowl on its side. With floured hands and the not-metal bread scraper which had seemed an indulgence when purchased (because the KA bowl is metal, did not want to scratch it up with usual scraper), I began to coax dough into the two 9 x 5 black metal loaf pans buttered up in preparation. In the last few minutes, Ron appeared, lifted the bowl up so the challenge could be completed.
Took less than two hours for the dough to rise to top of pans. Slashed the tops, into the oven. (Slasher is green plastic object "Matfer" with very sharp blade.) At the end of the recipe's suggested time, 30 minutes, followed an unusual direction, "...turn them upside down" for additional time. Clear when turned out of pans they needed more baking, so I did as suggested.
Result: Two pretty loaves, one with what appears to be a more decorative marking but is only the result of its position on oven shelf.
That night we ate some: delicious, even better the next day. Now to share with a person here and there who enjoys my efforts. Gives me an excuse to make two loaves, way more than this old couple needs!
*Used fine cornmeal, next time would do 1/2 cup of medium. Here's a very useful article that answers many questions about various cornmeal grinds.