I am beginning to feel that there is no better bread than bread made with sourdough.
In the beginning all risen breads were sourdough, or naturally leavened breads. There isn’t any real reason they can’t be today. We began using commercial baking yeast to save time, not to make better bread, and to make large quantities of it to sell. With practice, you can get the taste, crumb and rise you want from sourdough.
I really hope you will join me in making better bread. I’m onto my 19th week of a challenge to make a different loaf each week for 52 weeks.
This is a simple sourdough – very easy to bake and tastes fantastic. Wholewheat is an important ingredient and I actually think you should take a walk on the wild side and create rich, flavourful breads, when plain white just isn’t enough for you. A good sourdough recipe should be top of your ‘try’ list and here is one. Enjoy! If you want to try other sourdough recipes try these:
250g (9oz) strong wholemeal bread flour (I used Doves Farm organic flour)
¾ tsp salt
150ml (5 oz) warm water
75g (2¾oz) wholemeal starter dough – to make yours follow the link here Starter dough
In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, salt, starter dough and warm water.
Mix in the electric mixer using the flour hook for approximately 10 – 12 minutes
Now allow it to rest until it has doubled in size. Put a bit of oil in the bottom of a bowl, put the smooth side of the dough onto the oil. Turn the dough so it’s lightly coated with oil. It doesn’t matter at this stage if the smooth side is up or down. Once the loaf is covered with oil, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours in a warm place.
All doughs should have a rest period , as this give the flour time to absorb moisture and the dough to settle in. It’s easier to let nature do this than to keep kneading.
This is especially so with whole grain flours. Whole grains will absorb more water than refined flours and they do so more slowly. Often when we begin bread making we add too much flour because we think the dough is too wet. Then the flour absorbs the moisture and suddenly the dough is too dry. More water is added. The cycle continues. When the we either get it right or gives up in disgust, there is much more flour and water than the starter can deal with in a reasonable time frame so the bread rises slowly. So, do not adjust the flour and liquid until after the resting period.
When the dough has doubled in size, gently deflate the dough by pressing your fist into the ball, then fold over the sides of the ball to form it into a new ball, and put back into the mixing bowl. Again, let the dough covered in a warm place until doubled, which will take about 1/2 as long as the first rise.
Again, gently deflate the bread and form a loaf and put it loaf onto a greased 4 x 8″ baking sheet.
Put the loaf aside to rise, which should be a bit faster than the second rise. Don’t let it over-rise!
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Slash the bread with down the centre of the loaf. Pop the bread into the oven. After 1/2 an hour, look at it. If the loaf is quite brown, reduce the temperature to 325 F. If the bread is pale or pinkish, raise the temperature to 375 F.
Let it continue baking another 15 minutes. Pull the bread out and check that it is done.
Let it cool, slice and enjoy!