Who’s this sexy thing? Say hello to your old friend Ralph. Remember when he looked like this:
Well, after a few weeks of feeding and a two day – yes TWO DAY – baking process he’s the toast of the town. What could possibly take two days, you ask?
Well, the recipe starts with a few cups of Ralph, a few cups of water and seven cups of bread flour.
And here’s where things start to deviate from a standard instant-yeast recipe. You let the dough rise for four hours in a cool place. In my house that’s the piano. What can I say? Great baking, like great boinking, happens all over the house.
Once the dough has risen, you put it in the refrigerator for 12 hours to retard (tee hee). This is where the flavor develops. Then it’s back out of the fridge for another three to four hours for a final rise then into the oven at 500 degrees. Just a note, a sourdough boulle has to be baked on a preheated baking stone in a moist oven, which means an hour of preheating and occasionally opening the oven the spray water on the bottom and sides (not on the glass light bulb in the back unless you like your bread sprinkled with glass). You also have to adjust the temperature after the first five minutes and turn the boulle after 20 and vent for the last 10 minutes. So, what I’m saying here is that, unfortunately, this is not the kind of bread you bake while painting your toenails and watching episodes of Veronica Mars in the other room.
It is, however, the kind of bread that, could he eat, Roger Ebert would give two thumbs up. Just look at that perfect golden color and the irregular crumb structure. In fact, if I ever jail break my iphone or get an audio output cord I’ll post a totally awesome and unbiased review of Ralph that my parents left on my iphone last night just to prove to you how awesome this bread is.
Gratuitous picture of my dog Billie not helping to bake bread.