Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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Sourdough Starter

Sourdough is simple to make but takes time, but the results are definately worth it.

When you have made your first sough dough loaf you will keep on baking your own fresh bread.

To make sourdough first you need a starter. No commercial yeast is used in a sour dough, the yeast comes from the air and the flour, this is why you get unique tastes in the finaly bread. 

A starter takes a week to prepare but can then last for generations, with basic attention and feeding. If you ever have too much then 'share' it with a friend or bake a cake or use it in pancakes for a different taste and fluffy texture. You can also keep it in the fridge and re-activate it when needed.

So here goes..... Sourdough Starter

Day 1 

Mix 100g of rye flour with 100g hand warm water. Mix it well so it is free from lumps and put into a small bowl or jar (plastic or glass, not metal)
Cover it but do not seal with the lid, the mixture needs air. I use the 1kg greek yoghurt tubs (when empty), they are the right size and have lids.
Let is stand for at least two days in a warm place. It will start bubbling in a few hours.

Day 3

It should have started bubbling, so now you can start to 'feed' the starter
Mix it and add 100g plain white flour and 100g warm water, you should have the consistency of thick/double cream.
Cover loosely and let it stand for another day. Not too warm now, about room temperature is good.

Day 4,5,6 sourdough1

You now need to reduce the volume to keep your starter active. Split the starter into 2 and keep feeding one of them as day 3, you will start to smell the yeast now. Split and feed each day, or you will be over-run with starter.

The started you have removed has many uses, you can give it to a friend or you cane use it to make crumpets, pancakes add to cakes and more. We will be adding more sourdough recipes as we test them.

Day 7

Your sourdough should now be bubbly and creamy with a smell of fresh yeast. If it smells like beer then it has overfermermented, no problem just add flour and water again and leave for another 6 hours.

When your starter is nice and bubbly you are ready to bake your first sourdough loaf. It will be quite a young sourdough with just a hint of the sour flavour but this flavour will develop over the next few weeks as it matures.  Feed your started agin 100/100 and you have enought starter to make 2 loaves (600g each) and leave some starter to keep 'feeding'.


Basic Sourdough Recipe: sourdough starter ready to use

Making Sour dough is more about getting to know your environment and the ingredients. The amount of water will depend on your flour so go easy until you have the right consistencey. The rising and proving times will be dependent on the strength of your starter and the temperature, you will get used to your own environment after a few weeks. The longer the rise and prove the more flavour you will have in the finished bread. 


700g flour
350g starter
150g water (approx)
10 g salt

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, bring together with a knife first, so you don't get too sticky. Mix to a slightly sticky dough, knead for 10 minutes then allow to rise until double the size. For a true sourdough this should be done a normal room temperature and can take many hours, it can even be left in a cool place overnight (the longer you leave it the better taste). sourdough bread

Knock back and shape into 2 loaves and place on baking trays, leave to prove for another 2-3 hours or until almost double.

Bake at 220C for 30-40 minutes until browned and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.


General Notes: 

Always save at least 200 g of sourdough starter after you have finished baking and mix with 100g of flour and 100g water to continue the sourdough starter. 

All starters should be kept at a normal room temperature and avoid putting it into a too hot a spot. Remember you must feed it every day (100g flour/100g water) or put it into the fridge where it can last a week before feeding.

If you are going to make bread weekly then work out how much starter you will need and ensure this is ready when you want to bake. If you want to make bread again soon then increase the 'feeds' to 100g. If keeping in the fridge remove the day before and refresh with 50-100g 'feed' and keep at room temperature to bake the following day.

For a Rye bread use 30/70 mix of rye flour and strong white flour.

Try adding some wholewheat flour to white flour for a healthy and filling loaf.

Add 50g of seeds or wheatgerm for more texture (sunflower, pumpkin, linsead etc.)

For translations and sources of flour types read Flour, Bread and more


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