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Eli’s Bread

Updated February 23, 2016
(1 Votes)

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It takes two days to make the sourdough starter for Eli Zabar’s bread, but once it is made, it can be renewed again and again. Which is a good thing because once you’ve tried this bread, you may not be able to settle for less.

Note: To reserve the starter for future use, add to the remaining “chef” 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rye flour, ½ teaspoon brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and ¾ cup warm (105° to 110°F) water. Mix well. Store in a clean container in the refrigerator, where it will keep indefinitely. Be sure to refresh it as above after each use. The starter may be frozen; just be sure to let it come back to room temperature before proceeding.

Makes12 ficelles, which will serve 6 who have had a chance to smell the bread baking

Cooking Methodbaking

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timea day or more

Kid FriendlyYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturechewy, crisp, savory

Type of Dishyeast bread

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1½ teaspoons malt syrup, or 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups warm (104° to 110°F) water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Instructions

Prepare the starter: In a bowl, combine 2 cups of the all-purpose flour with the rye flour, malt syrup or brown sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the warm water. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 24 hours.

Discard half of the day-old starter. Place the remaining starter in a large bowl and add the remaining 2 cups of all-purpose flour and the remaining ½ cup of warm water. Knead to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 24 hours more. This makes the “chef.”

Prepare the bread: In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, water, and salt. Add half of the chef and mix (see Note). If using a mixer with a dough hook, beat for 8 minutes on low speed to combine well. If using your hands, knead for 10 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Flatten (don’t punch) each piece of dough into a long stick about 12 inches long. Place 6 of the sticks on each of 2 baking sheets and dust lightly with all-purpose flour. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 diagonal slashes on each stick

Place the loaves in the hot oven. Using a plant mister, spray the inside of the oven every 5 minutes, and bake until the loaves are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Eat these ficelles while they are still warm.

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There is somthing wrong with this recipe, the starter doesn't rise or become spongy. I ended up adding half a teaspoon of yeast after 24 hrs and then feed it after another 24 hrs. Then I followed the recipe. The yeal for this much flour is about half what my normal recipe yields. And there is entirely too much salt.

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