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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sweet and sour dough

I've been wanting to try out sough dough bread for a while, and austerity is the perfect excuse, as the bread uses neither butter or yeast - it's pretty much flour and water, rises with the natural yeasts in the air, and tastes delicious. I was also inspired by my friend Lisa who works in a lovely bar in London with a menu that features sour dough bread, some of which she brought me at Christmas. I used the guide in Paul Hollywood's book, and scarped together my pennies to buy a 2 lt jar with a clip on lid, like the one in his book.
 Here it is - 500 grams of flour mixed with 190 ml of water to make a sloppy dough mixture, with a grated organic apple - organic because otherwise the pesticides will stop the yeasts from forming. You make a mark on the side to judge how far it's risen when starts to ferment, and you leave it for three days.
 Look, here's my mark and some early bubbles!

 After three days, this is what I got - huge bubbles! You then discard half of it, though I was tempted to try and do something with it - and add another 250 grams of flour and enough water to make it a wet dough again. You then let it stand for another 2 days, discard half again, add another 250g of flour and water, and then 24 hours later you're ready to go.
The basic bread needs 500 grams of starter ( add enough flour and water to bring your jar up to your mark when you use your starter) - 750 grams of flour, tepid water enough to make a nice wet dough, and 10 grams of salt.
Sour dough needs kneading, more kneading that conventional bread, I gave mine 10 mins and boy, it makes a glorious silky smooth dough.
It's then left to rise until it's doubled in size, this took 8 hours for me ( this is a bread you need to plan in advance for!) You then shape out two loaf sized lumps and knock them back. Proving takes a long time, set them to prove in mixing bowls lined with flour dusted tea towels, and put the bowls inside plastic bags.
 I left mine to prove overnight, so although the process is long, it's very easy as you sleep through most of it! In the morning I got up at eight, put on my oven and gently placed each risen load on a prepared baking tray - either oiled or lined with baking parchment. Once my teeth were brushed and make-up was done, I was ready to bake - and 35 mins later we had bread!
It had the perfect, bubbly crumb, chewy texture and the glorious, slightly yoghurty taste of sour dough - I was really rather pleased with it.

You have to store your starter in a cold place if you're baking less than every three days, but I'm hooked, watch this space for a lot of sour doughs!

1 comment:

  1. I know from experience that this is delicious. I could smell this lovely bread as soon as the pictures appeared on my monitor. A lot of people don't know I'm a Master-Baker. In the sixties when I was learning the skills the bakery I worked in used a sponge and dough process which is basically the sour dough method. It was my job being the apprentice to prepare both the sponge dough and the acid dough. The sponge dough being what you made first. The acid dough was the dough with the salt in it. Next day when making the actual bread dough one would add the correct proportions of sponge and acid dough together to make the most wonderful tasting bread imaginable. Not like today's pap. Well done for posting this I'm gonna make some this week-end using your recipe. Bazbaron