Saturday, 14 January 2017

Make your own Sourdough and bake a bread

Today this blog has a bit of science!
Making your own sourdough bread from scratch will take a bit of planning and some kind of exact work for a couple of days. You have to make your own Sourdough Mother, but this Mother can last for ever, if you keep it and care for it. The Mother I am using is 18 month old!

Keep in mind, cake flour is no use for a sourdough, you have to use a flour with a high gluten content or wholemeal flour. You can use wheat, rye or spelt flour or a mix of these 3. The flour that makes the Mother will be the base to all breads, I made a rye flour Mother, so all my breads are rye based. But I can use the other 2 flours to bake the bread.

The higher the gluten content is, the more water you will need. The dough should look like a whaffle batter. It should always rest in a warm place -best 25 C but not over 40 C. Best temperature is 30 -35 C. The lower temperature will take longer to sour the batter.

Now to start:
It takes 5 steps to make a sourdough and takes 5 days. It should look like whaffle batter. In these 5 days it will be strong fermenting and form bubbles, it is important to use a big bowl - 4 liters- to start with.

Day 1:
100 g flour with 100 g tepid water mixed in the big bowl, covered with a plate and kept in a warm place. After 12 hours take a wooden spoon and stir the dough. Then let it rest again.

Day 2:
after 12 hours, use 50 g flour and 50 ml tepid water and beat it strong, cover it again and let it rest 24 hours.
This is the time when the fermentation should start. Depending on the temperature it can take a while longer. You can smell it, like vinegar, that is ok and will get less strong in a couple of days.

Day 3:
After 24 hours, add 50 g flour and 50 ml tepid water and beat strong. Cover again and let it rest for 12 hours, the beat again strong and cover again.

Day 4:
after 12 hours add 50 g flour and 50 ml tepid water, beat strong and cover and let it rest again 24 hours.

Day 5:
today you can bake your bread!
If you bake with fresh sourdough you should use 20 g fresh yeast for the first bread, when you use the Mother again, only use 15 g fresh yeast. So on and so on, after a few bakes, you wont need yeast.

Before you bake your bread, take 50 g away from your Sourdough and put it into a twist-off glass - in the fridge - this is the base for all your breads in the future. Just feed the dough at the end of the week, if you don´t intend to bake a new bread after one week.
10 g flour and 10 g cold water - stir and keep until the next week - or feed again
16 hours before the baking:
200 g rye flour
200 g tepid water
50 g Sourdough Mother
stir well and keep at room temperature for 16 hours.

I usually start this at 5 pm on a friday, so I can start my bread on 9 am on Saturday!
Take 50 g away as the new Mother and store it in the fridge!

400 g rye flour
200 g spelt flour
320 g water  - use malted beer this time - but buttermilk is great too, or a Guinness
20 g salt
2 tsp bread seasoning (fennel, caraway, fenugreek or else)
5 g fresh yeast
The Sourdough after 16 hours ready to get the flour in

Mix it with the sourdough, it will be a very heavy dough. Let it rest covered for 30 minutes.
Put it on a lightly floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes until the gluten has streched and forms a smooth dough.

If you have a Fermentation Basket, flour it thoroghly and place the dough in, cover with some flour and a dish towel an let it rest - with yeast 90 min - without 120-240 min.
When rested enough, get it on a baking stone, cut the top.

Preheat the oven 250 C and bake 15 min on high temp with a bowl of water,
drop the heat to  180 C and get the water bowl out.
Bake for 40 more minutes.
When you knock at the bottom, the bread should sound hollow.
Cool it on a rack.

Fingertest with a twinkle in your eye!

With a straight finger give the dough a strong nudge, it will tell you how it feels  :-)

a) the dough feels strong and elastic: "I am just found my resting basket comfortable, go away!"

b) the dough feels a bit spongy, but comes back the moment you nudge it. "I do not have enough pressure , I need a good half hour more!"

c)  the dough is fluffy, but comes not back into its old form: " I am nearly ready, but if you are in a hurry, you can place me into the oven, the cut will come open wide!"

d) the dough keeps the nudge a long time, the fills up again: "I am ready to be baked- now or never!"

e) the dough moans, the place where you´ve nudge it, collapses -"Now, bake me, it will be ok, but the bread will be not high, but wide"

f) the dough crumbles to dust: " I was with Ramses and Tut Anh Amun- let me die in peace!"

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