Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sourdough Loaves - They're alive!!

I've probably bored you before with tales of my trip to River Cottage back in 2010, where I participated on their Bread Making Course.  Well not long after I begun the process of making my own Sourdough starter.  Its a bit of a labour of love, as its takes 7 - 10 days to get it going.  After that you have to nurture it by feeding it regularly.  Now, there is no two ways about it, I neglect my starter beyond belief.  The recipes tell you to feed it every day, but really that's only necessary if you are baking fresh bread every day.  To create a sourdough loaf you need a very active starter.  In between, I think it can have a little rest.  Well, we all need one of those from time to time don't we.
Sometimes my starter sits on the side for a couple of weeks without feeding.  Opening the lid its probably gone grey in colour and stinks badly, but tip a little away, add some new flour and water and off its goes again in a couple of hours bubbling away.

Making a Sourdough loaf requires a bit of time, a bit like the ciabatta loaves, so best saved for the weekend.  I have linked a River Cottage recipe here for a Starter and a Sourdough loaf.  Sourdough Recipe including the Starter

The version I have made is half wholemeal / half white.  I started it off last night by putting the wholemeal flour, sourdough starter and water in a big bowl.  Stirred it all around, covered it and left it overnight.

This morning I was greeted by a bowl of bubbling froth, so I guess its hungry again! 

I added the white flour and salt, mixed it all together then kneaded it for about 10 minutes or so and popped it back in the bowl.  A couple of tippings out and re-shaping later and its plumped up quite nicely.

Rather than proving in baskets, I decided to try them free-form straight on lined baking sheets.
They looked like flat splats when they went in to the oven, so I was pleasantly surprised to see them puff up in the oven.  I would always expect any type of loaf with a high wholemeal content to be not that airy, but half and half seemed to work well.

You can always add a bit of Sourdough Starter to your regular bread mixes in addition to the fast action yeast.  If gives it extra flavour and rise.  Or give some away to friends and encourage them to give it a go :)    ytghrfdcgv..........blinking Cat just walked across the keyboard!  I think he wants to go Global.................................

No comments:

Post a Comment