Red Wine Sourdough

The taste of sourdough, red wine, and a dash of pepper: a stately, robust loaf with a thick crust and a smooth aromatic crumb. Look at me sounding all fancy pants.

That pink color you see in the bowl above was so nice to look at. I think I have grown to like dough with color and texture as a form of rebellion against the white bread that has become the bread aisle standard.

Tynan (my 16 year old son) really took a shining to it. Came into the room with two large cuts, toasted and buttered. Made a point to tell me, “This one is really good.” My Dad said that the crust was “just right.” It’s these little passing comments that mean the most to me. Usually because they are mumbled through a mouthful of freshly baked bread.

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Red Wine Sourdough

The taste of sourdough, red wine, and a dash of pepper: a stately, robust loaf with a thick crust and a smooth aromatic crumb. Look at me sounding all fancy pants.

Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 2 round loaves
Author Mark Oppenneer

Ingredients

For the Sponge

  • ½ cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup warm red wine about 110 degrees
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • (I used a cup of spelt flour and ½ a cup of unbleached, just because.

For the Dough

  • cups warm red wine about 110 degrees
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. At least 12 hours in advance, combine the starter, wine, flour and pepper in a large glass or pottery bowl. The sponge will have the consistency of a cake batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let ripen at room temperature for at least 12 hours but no longer than 36 hours.

  2. When ready to make the bread, add the 1½ cups of wine, salt and 3 cups of the flour to the sponge. Beat vigorously with a dough whisk or heavy-handled spoon for 2 minutes.

  3. Gradually add more of the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

  4. Knead dough for 8-10 minutes, add more flour, a little at a time as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough and blisters begin to develop on the surface.

  5. Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.

  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a ball, cover with a towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.

  7. Shape each piece of dough into a ball again. Flatter the centers slightly and place them well apart on a well-greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until almost doubled in size.

  8. About 15 minutes before the end of the rising, preheat the oven to 400F.
  9. Put a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the oven.
  10. Cut lines across the tops of your loaves with a lame, razor blade, or very sharp knife. Brush the loaves with cold water.

  11. Put 1 cup of ice cubes in the hot pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Immediately put the bread on the shelf above and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped or the internal temperature reaches 190F.

  12. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

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