Following the receipt of a sourdough starter from a friend’s Dad three weeks ago I have read a lot, a LOT, about sourdough starter, care, and bread. And pretty much everything I read contradicted something else I had read. Hmmm. Time for some experimenting.
First of all, I have to ‘feed’ Geoffry, a mixture of flour and water. Approximately 50g flour and 50g of water per 100g of sourdough starter. If the sourdough is at room temperature, I have to do this twice a day. If Geoffers is in the fridge, I need to do this every couple of days.
The more times I feed him before baking, the better the flavour seems to be. So far all the loaves have been pretty good, but perhaps a little dry. Any advice fellow bakers?
The recipe that seems to work the best so far is below.
You will need:
- 500g strong white bread flour (Or, 300g white and 200g wholemeal)
- 300ml sourdough starter
- big pinch of salt
- 200ml water
I have been making the bread quite succesfully using the dough hook on my Kenwood K mix, and this is what I do:
Mix together the flour, starter and salt in the mixer bowl. Set the mixer off on a slow speed and add the water – it usually takes all 200ml of water as it should be a fairly wet dough. Kneed with the dough hook for about 10 minutes on a slow speed.
Coat your hands in olive oil and lift the dough out of the mixer, coating it in oil as you do. This will prevent it from sticking to the bowl as it rises. Cover the top of the bowl with cling film and pop into a warm place (I use the top shelf of the airing cupboard) for 2 hours.
Take off the cling film and put the bowl back onto the mixer stand. Knead again for a couple of minutes and then turn out onto a surface. Flour the inside of a loaf tin. Agin, coat your hands, and then the loaf with a little olive oil (I find that this gives a nicer crust) and shape your dough to fit into the tin.
Cover with cling film and allow to prove for a second time. I read that this can be anywhere between 8 and 12 hours, but I was finding that this was over proving, even if just left in the kitchen. 4 hours seems to be about right in the airing cupboard. I have found that is better to take the cling film off before the dough reaches that point as even when the cling film is oiled, it can stick and pulling it away from the dough will cause the top to sink.
Pop it in the oven at about 195 degrees C for 35 minutes. Simples! This seems to be a really easy bread to make, but it does not yet taste as good at Dave’s Dad’s – I will keep trying!!