Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sourdough - finally
As many people who love making their own bread, I have shied away from making my own sourdough - until now. I gave myself a push and asked myself 'what is the worst that can happen?'. So, now, finally, I am the proud parent of my very own sourdough starter. There are many recipes and procedures for sourdough and when you search the internet, you get overwhelmed with the amount of articles. Since I am a big fan of River Cottage - I went and got their bread book (already have the preserve & mushroom one). Not that I followed the recipe to the dot but it got me started.
And wow, was it worth the effort. Anyhow, I started the first day with flower to same amount of water, stirred it, covered it with a cloth and left it. The next day, I added the same amount of flour and water and stirred again - repeating for about a week. Some recipes tell you to throw half the starter out before adding more flour and water but I was too 'stingy' to do that.
On day 8 my starter was ready to be used. I mixed breadflour with water, salt and my wonderful young and pungent starter. Knead well and leave to rise for about 12 hours. After that, knead the bread dough on a floured surface for a few minutes and return it to the bowl and leave to rise again for a few hours (I normally have the first rise overnight and the second until I come home from work). Knead again until the dough is not sticky anymore (just like any other bread) and form it into a loaf (any shape you like) and place in the oven on medium heat.
When I visited Declan Ryan's bakery once, I saw that he sprayed a bit water into the oven when he baked sourdough bread - so I decided to become extremely professional and do the same - I repeated it about twice while the bread was baking. The result was a crusty bread with a soft inside. The smell of the bread was just amazing and there is no more satisfaction than you take a bite out of your very own sourdough bread - the taste was too wonderful to describe.
Yes, it is a lot of work for one loaf of bread - but my-oh-my - what a bread. Give it a try. Very good recipes can be found on www.sourdough.com and You Tube is full of how-t0-videos. Let me know how you got on.