Saturday, 2 November 2013

Sourdough from Starter to Bake

To begin a sourdough you start with a Starter.  This starter is easy to make and you can keep using it for years.
1 cup plain flour (strong or bread flour)
1 cup spelt flour or just use 2 cups of plain flour.
2 cups of tepid water
Mix the flour and water and set aside in a plastic container with the lid on.
This is what it should look like after 24 to 48 hours,  discard half this mixture and top up with a cup of flour and a cup of water mix and set aside with the lid on.  Do this every second day for a week.  At the end of the week your starter is ready to use.

375g plain flour
250g starter
7g salt
150ml tepid water
Either with your hands or mixer with a dough hook mix the flour and starter adding 50 ml of the water.  Mix the salt with the remaining water and add slowly with the mixer running.  When your dough comes together in the bowl of the mixer you may need to add some olive oil to the bowl to stop it sticking.  Let the mixer run on medium for approx. 10 to 15 mins checking if you need to add more olive oil to stop the dough sticking to the bowl.  Turn into oiled bowl to prove (rise) and cover with cling film and allow to rise in a warm place for 8 to 12 hours.
At the end of the first prove it should have doubled maybe tripled in size.  Now you need to "knock the dough back"  this involves knocking the air out and re kneading the dough.  Turn the dough onto a well oiled bench or into an oiled mixer bowl.  Knead the dough by hand or in the mixer for about 10 mins then "shape" into a ball.  Tuck the edges under to the bottom of the ball of dough, it will look nice and smooth on top.

If you have one use a bread proving basket (banneton) if not oil and flour a bowl, remember to oil it and flour it well other wise it will stick when turning the dough out to cook, this I know from experience! When you put the dough in the basket/bowl put the smooth top down and the underside pointing up.  Put the basket/bowl in a plastic bag to prove again for 5 to 8 hours.
Pre heat oven to 220C and place an oven proof bowl with boiling water in the oven.
Turn the dough onto either a tray or pre heated pizza stone.  Slash the top with a serrated knife and place in the oven at 220C for 30 mins then reduce heat to 200C for a further 20 mins.  When you tap the bottom of the bread it should sound hollow.


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