Sunday 29 September 2013

Sourdough September

I made sourdough before, and it was not a success. Well, it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. So, seeing as it is sourdough September, I decided to try again.

I found this recipe on the web, and it was straightforward enough.

Day 1
§  40 grams of whole wheat flour (I used Soubry Pain de Campagne)
§  3 tablespoons of water
Mix the flour and water into a paste in a Tupperware. Cover and set aside in a warm place.
Day 2
§  40 grams of whole wheat flour
§  3 tablespoons of water
Mix flour and water into previous days mixture. Cover and return to warm place.
Day 3
§  40 grams of whole wheat flour
§  4 tablespoons of water
Mix flour and water into previous days mixture. Cover and return to warm place.
Day 4
§  120 grams of unbleached all-purpose flour (I used Carrefour Farine pour pâtisserie tout usage)
§  100 ml water
Mix flour and water into mixture. At this point it should be bubbling and starting to smell pleasant. You can now store it in the fridge and feed it every 4-5 days with 40 grams of flour and 3 tablespoons of water.
A blurry photo of just-stirred starter
I didn’t actually use my starter until day 14 or 15. When you are going to use it, take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature.
D-day (or B-for-baking-day, or BB-day – bread baking day)
§  160 grams of the starter
§  50 grams of whole wheat flour
§  150 grams of bread flour (Soubry white bread flour)
§   120 ml water
Mix all of these together with a dough hook and cover with cling film. 
Just-mixed starter + part 1 of the ingredients
Leave it to rest in a warm place for about four hours. Then it will look like this:

Starter + part 1 of the ingredients, just after proving

Then add the remaining ingredients:
§  100 grams of whole-wheat flour
§  300 grams of bread flour
§  2¼ teaspoons sea salt
§  300 ml water

Using the dough hook on your mixer, knead for about 10 minutes or until mixture is smooth and pulls away from the bowl slightly. It will still be very sticky though. Let it rest for one hour.
After one hour, knead it lightly, folding it over onto itself a few times. If you have a bannetone (that’s the fancy bread proving basket), spray it with non stick spray and flour very heavily, all the way to the top. I put it directly into a well-floured cake tin.

Let it rest another 3 to 5 hours. It will double in size. Once it is almost ready, preheat the oven to 220°. If you didn’t put your dough directly into the end cooking vessel, take the dough and flip it onto a sheet pan lined with baking paper.
Using a sharp knife, lightly score the bread in about three spots. Just use a quick movement to cut the dough about 1cm. This will allow the bread to bake evenly and will make it look nice. However, your dough may be too sticky and this will not work. Don’t worry if it doesn’t. Mine didn’t work.
Put the dough in oven and lower temperature to 200°. Bake for about 40 minutes or until bread is golden (according to the recipe - I left mine in for an hour and 20 minutes; I think there is a problem with the temperature gauge in my oven). 

Baked sourdough bread

Once its cooked, let it cool before tucking in.

The cut-into sourdough

Verdict: this is my second time making sourdough, and frankly, it'll be my last. It's not worth the effort, and I'm not happy with the results. I like experimenting with recipes to find which ones give the best results, but I'm calling it a day with sourdough. I found that despite the long cooking time, the dough was still quite damp and thick (the above photo does not do it justice). It tastes ok, but it's just very heavy. And it's just extremely high-maintenance, between the regular feeding and the all-day kneading/rising/shaping/proving process. 

There is room for only one diva in my house. 

For your leftover starter, keep it in the Tupperware and feed it every week. Mine is looking for a new home. 

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