Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sourdough Bread

After building up my sourdough starter for two weeks (details in the next post, perhaps) I was very excited about making my first sourdough loaf. The diary was cleared.

This was my starter in the morning. The volume has reduced from its evening time high, as you might have noticed from the "tide marks", but still bubbling when viewed from the top:


I am trying to followed a "recipe" from Dan Lepard in a newspaper and combining that with a recipe by Daniel Stevens (River Cottage No. 3).

Emptied most of this into a mixing bowl, added 500 strong wholemeal (because I don't like eating white) flour and about 300ml tepid water and mixed into a ball.

Left it for 10 minutes. Then decided (perhaps wrongly) that it probably needed a little more water. Added what I thought was about two teaspoons of salt, but probably much less.

Left this for about two hours and it became like this.
Notice the holes on the surface.

Removed this onto an oiled surface and kneaded it for a bit. Not a lot, and returned it to the bowl.

Waited for 2 to 3 hours for it to become like this.

Sprinkled lots of flour onto a tea towel and placed it into a casserole dish as I have no proving basket. Took the dough out and kneaded it. Asked for husband's help in getting some more flour to stop it from sticking too much. Put it first in the casserole dish. Realized the dish is too small. Got husband to bring out his grandmother's old roasting dish.

The dish looks like this.

And like this from the side. Perfect, I thought. It even has a lid to keep the dough from drying.

At least 2 hours later, and I kept checking and flouring the sides of the tin, we got this.

The holes on the surface (as noted in Stevens' book) were very reassuring. From the side it appears to have risen reasonably well.

Time to turn on the oven. Whacked up the temperature to its highest. Put a roasting tin in the bottom, and a baking tray in the middle. A baking sheet would be better, but I don't have one. Boiled up water.

Then came the tricky bit - and DISASTER!

Oven came up to temperature. Removed the tray. Tried to tip the dough onto the tray. But it got stuck. Had to scrape off some dough with a spoon. What I saw on the tray was a flat, flat bit of dough, DEFlated. The tray had cooled and I reshaped the dough into something more of a loaf shape with even more flour. My heart had sunk with the dough.

Nevertheless it went into the oven and I put boiling water into the bottom roasting tin. This produced steam which is supposed to give the loaf a nice crust. The water dried out faster than I expected. So, more water next time.

20 minutes on the highest temperature and then down to 180 degrees C for another 20 minutes. It rose quite a bit -- thankfully -- in the hot oven. And finally:

We could not resist having a bit for dinner. (It was morning when I started this bread and it was dinner time when I got the loaf out).

Yup! Good size bubbles. Crust was good. A bit sour, but mostly BLAND. I really needed some 25g of salt. But as I was mixing recipes, and this is my first go, I think I can be forgiven.

We plan to eat this very rustic bread with a hearty soup tomorrow.

Would I bake another sourdough loaf? Of course -- I do have a jar of sourdough starter now. But I would probably do a few things a bit differently. Starting with using more salt to counter the sour taste.

Salt and leaven (yeast). What did Jesus say about its use in our daily lives?

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