sourdough basics 103 post) is now beginning to make sense. My loaves are also getting better.
- I am still using the same plastic jug I had when I made my starter. I find I have to wash it regularly or the starter begins to smell like nail polish remover. I've considered buying a glass jar instead. Maybe one day.
- I have been experimenting with a softer dough. So soft it is quite sticky when I knead and cover with clingwrap. It seems to allow lighter bread with holes to form. Occasionally I get a hole so big it is like a cave but this is worth it to achieve the texture I love.
- I am still unsure how long I can leave the starter to get bubbly in the initial feed. Last time I left it from 4pm until 12pm on a coldish day and it had lots of bubbles but could have more of the clusters of tiny bubbles that look like foam.
- I usually make two loaves of bread in time for the weekend. One we eat fresh and the other is sliced up and frozen for during the week when we eat less bread.
- I have been making free form loaves. I must start trying to make the bread in this style using a square tin.
- I have reduced the time that I leave the loaves to rise on the tray because I find I get more oven spring that way. However I do get a bit of blow out where the bread cracks along the lower edges - so am not sure it is quite right.
- I have been making this bread in cooler temperatures (around 18 C days of spring). Timing might change once it is Summer - if I can bear to turn on the oven.
- I am having some success with my slashing the top but still yearn for my slashes to open more. I have a sharp knife (that was recently professionally sharpened) and cut very deeply but perhaps not widely enough.
- I find my method means that I only need one day where I must be about occasionally to look after the dough (never having found enough room in my fridge to put it there while I go out). I occasionally forget it or push the times about to suit me. It is fairly forgiving.
However I do find a lot of joy in my sourdough baking. It is a beautiful thing to have loaves of bread fresh from the oven, filling the kitchen with that homely aroma that real estate agent dreams are made of. I love to hear the bread sing as it cools, the crackle of the crust like the song of the sirens, tempting me to slice it up too early before it has completed its baking.
I am always delighted to come home and see a loaf of bread in the kitchen, to slice it and feel that sturdy sourdough texture that I love so much. It is so satisfying to eat a lazy lunch on the weekend where the main attraction is my sourdough bread. Yes, I am proud of how far I have progressed with my sourdough baking. Even when I have forgotten the salt. (It was only once. The crust was too dry and the bread lacked flavour but the loaf still tasted better than many you can buy from the supermarket.)
I am sending this bread to Susan for YeastSpotting.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Truffles, the weekend and random notes
Two years ago: Vegan nutella fudge for eat.drink.picnic
Three years ago: Queen Victoria Market - lunchtime delights
Four years ago: Grasping the nettle (soup)
Five years ago: Rogan Josh with variety
Basic Sourdough Bread
makes 2 loaves
200g starter (100% hydration)
700g plain white flour, divided, plus extra for kneading
450g filtered water*
2 tsp salt
Bring starter out of the fridge and scrape 200g into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 350g each of flour and water. Cover with clingwrap and leave to get really bubbly. I usually do this the day before (between 4 and 7pm) and leave it for between 17 and 20 hours.
Stir in 350g flour and 100g water to make a sticky dough. Turn out onto a well floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes by hand, using quite a bit of flour at the start to make the dough smooth and then keep adding flour to the surface as it becomes sticky.
Rub the crumbs out of the mixing bowl (a little flour helps to rub out as much dough as possible) and discard. Return ball of kneaded dough to the mixing bowl and cover with cllingwrap. Leave to rise for approximately 3 to 4 hours or until doubled in size.
Gently transfer dough from mixing bowl to a well floured surface. (Notice lots of gluten strands in the dough as you pull it from the sides.) It will deflate slightly. Cut into two pieces. Take the first piece of dough and stretch into a large square and fold three time (like folding an A4 sheet of paper to go in a DL envelope), turn 90 degrees and then fold again three times. Place on an oven tray that has been lined with baking paper and shape into a loaf. (I do this in a slapdash way by trying to stretch it to be longer and tucking the edges underneath. Other sites demonstrate much neater ways.) Repeat with second piece of dough.
Dust generously with flour and cover with clingwrap and leave to rise for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes. The flour helps to stop the clingwrap sticking. The loaves shouldn't have quite doubled by the time they go in the oven.
While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 220 C. For a chewier crust, place a container of water at the bottom of the oven (or spray water in just before putting the loaves in). When loaves are ready, slash deeply a few times with a very sharp knife. Bake for between 30 and 45 minutes. They loaves are ready when they sound hollow when tapped and are golden brown. Don't be afraid to let the loaves get quite dark brown as this can add to the flavour. Cool for at least one hour on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!
Notes and updates:
*Instead of filtered water I use water that has been boiled in the kettle and cooled. I keep a bottle which I pour water into once the kettle is cooled - or even when it is warm - so it is ready when I make bread.
To make enough for two loaves I have used 300g starter, 450g water and flour each, 3 tsp salt, then approx 550g flour and 100g water. Another time I used 400g starter, 350g water and flour each, 3 tsp salt, then 600g flour and 100g water.
I have been making bread in my bread tin and leaving it to rise longer once in the tin - anything from 3 to 4 hours to 12 hours overnight. It needs a lot of space to rise (once I had it flowing over the edge of the tin) and some slashes before going in the oven but it makes a lovely spongy damp loaf that lasts well. Like the one in this post. I have tried it on a tray but it is quite flat so I prefer it in a tin.
I have started to spray oil in the tin and then scatter sesame seeds on it so there is a nice seedy bottom to the bread. I sometimes sprinkle seeds or semolina flour on top of the bread.
My first rise always goes over my bowl but I have found that if I oil the clingwrap it doesn't stick to the dough.
On the Stereo:
A beginners guide to traditional Scottish music: various artists