Simple Sourdough..

I find myself a bit under the weather and so unable to cook anything exciting but while looking through my old tweets, I realised I never got to write up the recipe for the amazing sourdough I sampled earlier in the year. I’d used the Rachel Allen recipe and then lost it but I have now found it again so here goes.

I love sourdough, there’s something about it’s generously coarse texture and slightly acidic taste that I can’t get enough of. This recipe was ridiculously simple and, excluding the days waiting for the starter to do its thing, is really quick to make. I had been put off originally by the starter which I thought would be complicated but I decided that I am greater than the sum total of my fears (or something equally empowering sounding!) and I could tackle this little yeasty starter dough and win! I read, the other day, of a sourdough starter that somebody had since the 1800s which is pretty amazing for a soup of microorganisms.

Classic sourdough starter doesn’t include yeast but this is added to make the process faster. Rachel Allen advises to leave the starter for 3 days or 4 if you prefer it stronger but I think I ended up leaving mine for 5 days and it was none the worse.

The Starter:

  • 1 1/2 tsp of dried yeast
  • 500ml warm water
  • 300g plain flour
  1. 3 or 4 days before you want to make your sourdough, place the yeast in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add the water to this and mix together.
  3. Add the plain flour and hand whisk to mix.
  4. Cover with cling film and leave for 3 or 4 (or if you’re me, 5) days.

 

the mix

whisking

 

Day One

 

Day Two

 

Day Three

 

Day Four

 

The Bread:

  • 900g strong white bread flour (more for dusting)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 x sourdough starter (above)
  • 400ml warm water.
  1. Sift the strong white bread flour and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Mix the starter with the warm water and add to the flour mix.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together and knead for 10 minutes. If you have one of those technically brilliant dough hook attached to something electric things then this should take 5 mins. Stop kneading when it feels springy to the touch.
  4. Place in a large oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave for about an hour and a half in a warm place to double in size. To test, push your finger into the dough and it should leave a dent that doesn’t spring back.
  5. Knock the dough back and knead on a floured work surface for 2 minutes before shaping into loaves. You could do pretty much any shape, but I went for round and as my oval one sort of ended up round once it had risen again!
  6. Place the loaves apart on a floured baking tray and score the top of each one several times with a sharp knife.
  7. Cover these with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise again for 30-45 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 22oC and once risen, bake the loaves for 30-45 minutes. The bread is cooked when it’s a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.

 

adding the warm water and starter to the flour mix

 

Kneading: My hand looks miniature

 

just out of the oven

 

my delicious loaf

 

It was really, really nice. Not quite as dense as classic sourdough but very delicious and nothing takes away from the small of freshly baked bread. I would think it would be nice with pate or home made soup, I layered my slices up with pear and goat’s cheese. Mmm…

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