Saturday, March 13, 2010

Amazing Sourdough Bread- My 1st attempt ever

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I've always had a love for flavourful sourdough bread. There is no way to describe in words the taste, you will just have to taste it for yourself. Although I have tasted a lot of store bought sourdoughs, I have never tasted something so amazing in my life!

There is no match to home made sourdough.

Instead of commercial yeast, delicious sourdough is made with a starter, which uses the yeasts that live naturally in and on flour. Although it takes time to ferment or 'grow' the starter, it has so far been the least difficult bread I have ever made :).

I highly recommend it, your starter is almost like a pet that never dies, providing that you don't neglect it and not to forget to treat it right. Some starters have known to live over a century. Although I aspired for mine to be great, I just couldn't commit to love for that long. So here is my baby, 2 week old sourdough.

Sourdough bread


100g white bread flour, preferably unbleached organic flour
100 ml tepid water, preferably spring water

200–300g white bread flour, preferably unbleached organic flour
200–300 ml tepid water, preferably spring water

500g white bread flour, preferably unbleached organic flour
1 teaspoon salt
240 ml tepid water, preferably spring water, or as needed

Preparation method

1. To make the starter, place the flour and tepid water in a bowl and stir together to make a sticky paste. Cover with a damp tea towel (not plastic wrap) and leave on the kitchen bench for 2 days, dampening the tea towel again as needed to keep it moist.

• If after 2 days the mixture looks bubbly and has a milky smell, you can proceed to the first "feed". (It may take up to 4 days to reach this stage.)- Mine only took just less than too. After the 1st day it smelled like paper mache then proceeded to smell like milky goodness.

• If there are patches of mould or the paste smells sour or bad, throw it away and begin again with a new batch of starter.

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Making my starter :D

2. To feed the starter, stir 100g flour and enough tepid water into the starter to make a soft, paste-like dough (about 100 ml). Cover the bowl as before and leave for 24 hours. At this point the starter will look very active and bubbly. Stir well, then discard half the starter.

3. Repeat the process: stir another 100 g flour and 100 ml tepid water into the starter until fully mixed. Cover again and leave for 12 hours.

• If the starter looks very bubbly and lively, it is ready to use.

• If it seems only slightly bubbly, give it one more feed of 100 g flour and tepid water and wait 6 hours. (You should always have about 400 g of starter on hand: 200 g to make the bread, and 200 g to save.)

You will notice how the smells will develop.. Mine went from:

Day 1 - Paper Mache

Day 2 - Yummy milky goodness

Days 3-5 - Tasty cheese

Days 6-7 - Dirty socks

Day 8 - Strong cheese

Day 9 -Parmesan or Romano

Days 10-14 - Something so gross and sour smelling I didn't enjoy it anymore :S

4. To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Weigh out 200 g of the starter into a separate bowl and mix it with the tepid water, then pour it into the well in the flour. Gradually work the flour into the liquid mixture to make a soft dough. You may need to add a little more water as you work if the dough feels dry or crumbly, or more flour if it sticks to your hands or the bowl; use care and add only a tablespoon more flour at a time.

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5. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until very pliable and elastic.

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Clean the bowl and grease it lightly with oil or cooking spray.

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6. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 3–8 hours or until doubled in size. Rising time depends on the room temperature and on the strength of your starter. (A new starter will give a slower rise and less volume than one that is well established.)

7. Turn out the risen dough onto a floured work surface and knock it back with your knuckles to its original size. Shape the dough into a fairly tight ball and set it in a basket or colander lined with a heavily floured linen tea towel, seam-side up. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for 2–6 hours or until doubled in size.

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8. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220ÂșC. Invert the dough onto a large greased baking tray so it's seam-side down. Just before placing the loaf in the oven, make a single slash across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife to vent the steam. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when removed from the tray and tapped on the base.

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9. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and leave to cool. It can be kept for up to 5 days, and is wonderful toasted.

Enjoy when warm with a nice knob of butter :D
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  1. oh well done! looks really good! dont think i would ever make it though cause it takes too long. but i guess its good to know that you made it from scratch and it tastes even better

    i love sour bread dough . i remember how my brother used to work in a bread factory and he would bring all these different breads home. so yum!

  2. Oh yum! I would love that! I can imagine all of the crusty breads already :)

    It does require a bit of TLC, but definitely a 'do before you die' item :D

  3. @brisbane baker: probably put that on my list lol...

    u can get konnyuka jelly at any Asian Markets. you can get it from sunnybank or even inala. if you head into Brisbane occasionally....i suggest that Burlington (i think? its next to a yum cha restaurant) supermarket or even the Chinese herbal store in China town.

    konnyuka jelly is softer than agar agar but little kids and elderly people can choke on it since it does not melt in the mouth.

  4. Oh wow.

    Well I live really close to the CBD and work over near Inala so I might have to check out the Valley or Inala Plaza some time soon :)

    Thanks for your post.. its making me soooo hungry again! :)

  5. hmm, i've been hesitant to try making sourdough myself, but i might have to try it

  6. I love sourdough! my starter is my little pet and I use it to make not just baked goods but pasta (:

  7. Hi there

    Just wanted to know if you are interested in proofing baskets.
    This is the link to our proofing baskets page
    The pricing on our website is for general public.
    We do give bulk discounts.
    Do let me know if i can help you with anything.

    Kind regards