Sourdough bread at 1 a.m.

Hot sourdough bread with butter

Why, oh, why am I standing in my kitchen at 1 a.m. watching sourdough bread bake?

Why? Because I’m an idiot. That’s why.

My friend Ann Denson is to blame for this. I just want you to know. She left on some high-falutin’ trip somewhere and asked me to feed her sourdough starter. And she thoughtfully left me with some bread flour as if to suggest I should actually make some bread. So yesterday I did, but I followed the instructions literally much to my detriment. After mixing the dough (by the way if you own a stand mixer the dough hook will do all the kneading for you), I plopped it in a large bowl and read the next instruction: let rise overnight. It was 2 in the afternoon. Maybe I was misjudging my timing a bit? Maybe this bread dough doubles in size very, very slowly?

Ready to bake...at midnight

About 10 p.m., I checked the dough. Oh, my Lord. It had not only doubled in size, it was spilling over the top of the bowl. If I left it overnight, it would have crept off the counter, down the hallway and into our bedroom, smothering poor Mark and me. So, I punched it down and put it in the bread pans. Surely I could get some sleep now. No. This is the most aggressive bread dough I have ever encountered. By midnight, it was reaching the top of the bread pans.

So, at 1 a.m. I was standing in the kitchen eating freshly made sourdough bread. With lots of butter. It was good. Real good. I have eaten, I am ashamed to say, almost a loaf by myself.

The recipe for the starter and the bread is under the Home Cooking section of About.com. You’ll have to make the starter a couple of days in advance before you bake your bread. I, myself, will be stealing some of Ann Denson’s starter before she gets home.

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