Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Second Attempt: Sourdough Bread (WIP)
Our second attempt at making bread with wild yeast yielded better results visually, but I think we let the batter ferment for too long and well, the bread ended up tasting like San Francisco Sourdough Bread.
Ronny and I don't really like 'sour' and we prefer the sourness to be more on the level of pain au levain, but let me tell you - the crust was fantastic!
We'll have to experiment a bit more but I do remember reading somewhere that the sourness of the bread can be controlled by the amount of time you spend 'proofing' it.
Anyhow this is what we did:
Step 1: When the time came to feed my starter again at 17:00, I poured 50% of the contents of my jar into a plastic bowl and we used 75 g of this, throwing away the rest of it.
Step 2: We added 3 dl water and 250 g AP flour and mixed it to form a runny batter.
Step 3: In a separate bowl we mixed 350 g AP flour with 2-3 Tbsp salt and 1/2 Tbsp honey.
Step 4: Then the dry mixture was sprinkled over the wet mixture so that it was resting on top of it like a blanket.
Step 5: We covered this with plastic wrap (leave a little space) and a cloth and left it for 18 hours (!). *
Step 6: Mix all the contents inside the plastic bowl for about 1-2 minutes, and then let the dough rest with a cloth over the bowl for 20 minutes.
Step 7: Mix it again for 7 - 8 minutes, and then let the dough rest with a cloth over the bowl for 1 hour.
Step 8: Ease the dough out onto a well-floured surface and shape it into a rectangle with your hands, then fold it like an envelope.
Step 9: Put the dough back into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth and let it rest for 1 hour.
Step 10: Repeat Step 8 & 9 and let it rest for 2 - 3 hours. The dough should double in size. If it doesn't you need to give your dough more time to rise.
Step 11: Ease the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead it lightly.
Step 12: Then line the interiors of a colander with a cloth and dust it with flour.
Step 13: Put the dough into the colander and cover it with another cloth and let it rest for 3 - 4 hours or until you press the dough and it doesn't spring back-up. This is a sign that the bread has risen properly.
Step 14: Preheat oven and oven tray to 250C and make sure you have lots of ice cubes ready.
Step 15: Ease the dough onto a sheet of oven paper and put this onto the tray and then quickly put a casserole dish full of ice under the tray and let it bake for 15 minutes. Don't open the door during this phase.
Step 16: After 15 minutes, remove the tray with ice in it and lower the temperature to 225C and bake for another 30 minutes.
Step 17: When you hit the bottom of the bread with a wooden spoon and it makes a clunky noise - your bread is ready.
*18 hours at temperatures above 20 C is way too long unless you want your bread to have a nice sour tang. I recommend you only leave your bread for a maximum of 15 hours during the first stage if it's relatively cool. If it's warm this time should be a lot shorter. I guess as you bake more often with your starter you'll get to know it better and will know how it will react on certain days.
Note 1: I take back some of the 'sourness' comments I made above. When the bread cooled down - the sourness diminished significantly and we had more than a few slices this bread the next day for brunch slathered with a general dose of herbed garlic butter and slices of cured Spanish cheese (cow's milk variety).