Sometimes, being disorganised has its benefits, as this loaf proves! When I started baking bread yesterday, I meant to bake a regular one with regular flour. But at the moment when I was mixing flour into my happy and bubbly sponge, I realised I had exactly 100 g of flour left- including regular and wholewheat! So rather than letting my sponge die, I put in the only other flour in the house, which happened to be chickpea flour.
And it turned out so yummy, that I think chickpea flour is going to be one of the regular ingredients in my bread from now on!
For the sponge
60 g sourdough starter (method here)
300 g maida
300 ml water
Add 50 g flour
50 g wholewheat flour
100 g chickpea flour
8 g salt
Mix the sponge ingredients with a spoon. Leave aside, covered, until bubbly. The sponge for this loaf took 6 hours.
Add the remaining flours and salt to the sponge, and mix gently with a ladle. Lift and fold the dough with the ladle, turning the bowl a bit after every fold. Stop and cover the bowl once your bowl has turned a complete circle.
Repeat the lift and fold technique every 30 minutes for the next hour and a half, and remember to cover the bowl between folding sessions.
When the dough has doubled in volume (the time will depend on the vigour of the starter, the ambient temperature and the temperature of the dough to begin with), tip out onto a floured board and shape gently, taking care not to deflate it.
Slide into an oval basket or bowl lined with a floured tea towel and cover with a damp cloth.
When risen significantly, tip the dough onto a peel of flour and slide into an oven preheated to 250ºC.
Spray the inside of the oven and the top and sides of the loaf liberally every few minutes for the first 10 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 180ºC and bake for 25 minutes or until the topic dark and crusty and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow.
Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.
The look, feel and taste test
The chickpea flour made the dough quite sticky and hard to handle, but once baked, it gave the loaf an extraordinarily crisp crust and a warm colour to the crumb. The taste was nutty and flavourful.
A note on baking surfaces
While a baking stone that’s preheated in the oven is the ultimate in baking accessories, my oven is tiny, and can barely accommodate a big loaf. So I just use an upturned thick cast iron sheet that I preheat in the oven and so far, it has worked fine for me.