Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sourdough Bread

About a week and a half ago, I mixed equal parts by volume of Kamut stone ground flour and water.  I put them in a jar, tied a piece of linen over the top and set the jar on the counter.  Each day since then, I've added some flour and water to the mixture, sometimes taking some out so that the volume of dough doesn't get too large.   This is the basic method of making a sourdough starter.  You can purchase dried starter or just hopefully capture the wild yeasts on the flour and in the air.   I like to start with a whole grain  flour as it's more likely to have good yeasts on it.  Then I switch to whatever I have on hand.

Despite my kitchen being on the cool side, small bubbles started appearing on day 3.   Sunday was a spring teaser day and my bubbling starter also decided to finally start to grow in volume.   Monday afternoon, after feeding the starter, I scooped a few spoonfuls into a bowl.  This was a very unscientific measurement but I'm guessing there was maybe half a cup or so.  There are all sorts of sourdough bread recipes which call for exact amounts, from 1 tablespoon, to 3 1/2 cups of starter.  I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter.  Less starter may mean more rising time than using a whole lot of starter.  Anyway, with my few slops of starter into a bowl, I added sort of 3 cups of flour and stirred in enough water to make a rather wet dough or sponge.  I covered the bowl and set it aside.   This morning, the sponge was doubled in size and full of wonderful bubbles.  

I added another two cups of flour, a bit of salt and a bit of sugar.  I kneaded it until became more doughlike.  Because of the long risings, gluten will develop without a lot of kneading, so when I was satisfied, I dumped the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it and set it by the woodstove for a second rising.  It was almost doubled in size 3 hours later, so I gently cut the dough into two pieces and shaped it into round loaves.  I didn't want to deflate the dough too much in handling it.  I preheated the oven and when it came to temperature, I put the bread in to bake.   I've no idea how long I baked it as I just waited until it had a good colour and then put my trusty little baking thermometer in to check the internal temp.  The first check was not done, but the second one was 195°F.  Now the bread could come out of the oven to cool.

It has a lovely chewy but crisp crust, a nice crumb and because I added a touch of sugar, it's not quite as sour which will please the rest of the bread eaters around here.


Anonymous said...

I've nwever made sourdough. Looks like fun,

Leigh said...

Fantastic looking loaves Nina! I really need to get another sourdough starter going soon.

Woolly Bits said...

I've been meaning to start one of my own, but somehow stuff comes in between, so I am still using the dried sourdough - which is really more a "taste" than the real thing. the downside is that you have to keep at it or you loose the starter (or I'd freeze it - and forget all about it for ages...). but the bread looks lovely - I think I can even smell it:)