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.
- 1 1/2 tsp of dried yeast
- 500ml warm water
- 300g plain flour
- 3 or 4 days before you want to make your sourdough, place the yeast in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the water to this and mix together.
- Add the plain flour and hand whisk to mix.
- Cover with cling film and leave for 3 or 4 (or if you’re me, 5) days.
- 900g strong white bread flour (more for dusting)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 x sourdough starter (above)
- 400ml warm water.
- Sift the strong white bread flour and salt into a large bowl.
- Mix the starter with the warm water and add to the flour mix.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Place the loaves apart on a floured baking tray and score the top of each one several times with a sharp knife.
- Cover these with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise again for 30-45 minutes.
- 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.
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…