Sourdough bread



Seems ages since I’ve made sourdough bread, it’s been over a month I think. I’ve kept the mother going, it spends 3-4 days in the fridge, then the next 3-4 days I feed it. I thought I’d ruined it this week as it went well over 24 hours without being fed and I’d run out of rye flour to feed it with so had to improvise with a mix of wholemeal and spelt. That felt a bit weird as the texture is completely different but sourdough mother is a thing of wander and seems to be able to cope with whatever I throw – or forget to do to it. So, now it’s back in the fridge, fed with rye and looking fine.

The loaf is good too, although I haven’t tried it yet, only halved it to freeze. This bread freezes very well. The texture inside felt light and airy and there’s a good crumb to it too. My new method of making a slightly wetter dough and using a mixer for kneading really seems to be working. On this occasion, I used 200g strong white, 100g of strong wholemeal flour, 380ml water and probably around a ladle and a half of starter to make the sponge on Friday night before going to bed. Now that I’ve made sourdough quite a few times, I tend to just pour starter in from the jar without measuring and I’m not even that precise with water – you just get to a point when it feels right. For beginners though, I’d suggest adding a ladleful at first and also no more than 350ml water per 500g total flour. Yesterday morning I added another 100g of each strong white and strong wholemeal flours and a teaspoon of salt. Kneaded in the mixer for 6 minutes, shaped, left for an hour then deflated, shaped and left for another hour. You do the deflating and shaping four times in total. Then deflate one more time, roll up tightly, then flatten the dough, blanket fold and shape into a round or a loaf shape, coat well in rye flour and leave to prove on a flour dusted board, covered with plastic bags for two and a half to four hours. Yesterday’s dough proved for about three and a half. To bake, the oven needs to be very hot, with a baking sheet in and an empty sandwich tin if you want to steam the oven as well. I had the oven at 245 degrees C for the first ten minutes then at 180 for the next 35 minutes. Slash the dough once you’ve transferred it onto the baking sheet and I also sprayed it with more water to help the crumb.

Shall have some shortly for breakfast with marmalade. Am seriously contemplating getting a proving basket and a pail though because as it is, the dough rises beautifully but I lose a lot of the air while transferring to the baking sheet. Problem is, where am I going to keep yet more bread making accessories…

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