I have always wanted to become a better baker. Mostly because I love that moment when you step inside like a Panera or even the bakery section at a supermarket, and all the fresh breads are still piping hot, and it just smells so fantastic. I’ve also been obsessed with sourdough for about as long as I can remember. Something about that little sour twang in the flavor… man, I get happy just thinking about it. So the other day I was watching Good Eats and Alton Brown made a “Knead Not Sourdough” and of course, I had to try it.
This recipe is rather heavily modified, as I own neither bread flour nor dutch oven. =)
Also to note: This recipe seriously takes like 24 hours to make, from start to finish. Most of it is just letting the dough rise, but don’t expect to start this in the morning and be able to have it for dinner. =)

The goods:
17.5 ounces AP flour, plus extra for shaping (weigh it out people, it’s the ONLY way to bake properly)
1/4 teaspoon active-dry yeast
2.5 teaspoons salt (kosher if you got it, I don’t, so I used the regular table variety)
12 oz FILTERED water (brita, pur, whatever it takes)
2 tablespoons cornmeal (or somewhere around there, I didn’t actually measure this)

The method:
Whisk together flour, yeast and salt in large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 19 hours. Seriously.

After 19 hours, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Also, flour your hands. Trust me. Punch down the dough and turn it over onto itself a couple times. I ended up actually kneading it for a couple minutes, since AP flour has less gluten-forming potential than bread flour. I figured I’d help it along a little bit. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, shape the dough into a ball, or several small balls, or a loaf, or loaves. Again, flour your hands. It makes things easier. Sprinkle the tea towel with half of the cornmeal and lay the dough on top of it, seam side down. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the rest of the cornmeal and cover with the towel. So really, you want to keep your dough ball (or pieces) on one half of the tea towel and fold the other side over. If you made a bunch of smaller pieces, I would probably spread them out all over the towel and just place a fresh towel on top. Allow dough to rise for another 2 to 3 hours or until dough has doubled in size. (side note: at this point I didn’t see any discernible rising in my dough, but I did leave it for 2 hours as the recipe said)

Baking:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shift around your racks to make sure there’s room for the dough balls to rise. Iput one rack on the very bottom and shifted the other one to the very top.
Place dough onto ungreased cookie sheet, cornmeal and all, and place onto bottom rack in oven.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn, and bake for about another 15 min. The bread should reach an internal temp of 210 to 212 degrees. I don’t have an instant-read thermometer, so I pulled it when it got a pretty golden-brown color on top. Also, you should be able to knock on the outside without caving it in.
Allow bread to cool at least 15 minutes before serving. I’d cool it for like an hour.

This “sourdough” tastes fantastic. It actually came out pretty dense, so it’s great for dipping into soups or stews… or really, for any purpose since I like sourdough so much.
Happy baking!