Saturday, August 6, 2011

Enjoying the flexibility in making our own sourdough bread

A couple of months ago we started "growing" our own Sourdough starter to make our own bread - we were inspired by posts like this and after some internet and cookbook research we were ready to give sourdough a go.  We had never tried sourdough and the experience has been a real journey of discovery.  We had made our own bread, but had used cans of dried yeast, often packet bread mixes and a bread machine.

It took about three weeks to "brew" up our first sourdough starter batch - feeding it with a tablespoon of rainwater and unbleached flour each day.  At about two weeks we started seeing bubbles in our starter mix - we were now ready to try our first hand made sourdough bread.

The process of turning the starter into a loaf of bread takes up to two days and what we have enjoyed is realizing that the process is flexible.  So here is what we do.

We take the sourdough starter and mix in a cup of unbleached flour and a cup of water in a large bowl then leave it in a bowl on the kitchen bench overnight or until it is all frothy and bubbly. 

I save about a cup of this mix to be my new starter batch and then to the remaining ingredients in the bowl add:
  • about 3 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1/2 a cup or so of wholegrain bran
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of treacle
  • and water to make a dough (about 1 cup)
Mix ingredients to make a dough - adding more water if needed.  Knead the dough until well mixed and leave for half a day or overnight to rise.  After a quick knead we reshape into a loaf and put in a bread tin to rise in a warm place - on the kitchen window sill is working well over winter.

Once risen put the loaf into a cold oven - turn oven on to about 180oC and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped. The loaf below is one without the bran and treacle - so is a white sourdough.

The kids are really enjoying the whole breadmaking process - and because the bread is heavier than the standard bought bread we find that we all actually eat less bread - and we don't have all that plastic packaging that comes with standard supermarket bread.

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