Sunday, 3 January 2016

My first sourdough of the year :-D

I hope all of you brought in the new year with a bang! 
Mine began with a sniffle. 
Flu struck a couple of days before the first of this month, pushing my celebrations by a couple of days. But when I did manage to welcome the new year, it was, unsurprisingly, with a loaf of sourdough bread.

And all was well again :-)))

Brand new year. Brand new sourdough starter! 

I had 10 g of starter that was 4 days old. I had managed to refresh it, between bouts of misery in the last few days. 

By normal standards, I should have waited a bit longer for the starter to stabilise, but my medication-ravaged brain cells were begging for a treat. 



200 g of wholewheat flour
10 g of starter
300 ml of water


300 g of flour
100 ml of water
8 g of salt
1 tsp oil (to grease the bowl)


I mixed the preferment ingredients into a thick batter and left it, covered, for 2 hours for the flour to autolyse and the yeast to develop. 
The strings were much longer, but I couldn't click and hold the spoon so high at the same time. 

Both happened and the batter was stringy and puffy. I added the dough ingredients (except the salt and oil, of course) to the batter The hydration now was 80%.

I find that granite counters are perfect for kneading high- hydration doughs. And as for bench-scrapers, they are worth their weight in soul.

I kneaded the dough for about 20 minutes using a gentle slap and stretch technique. The dough was still a bit sticky, but the gluten strands were long enough to wrap up the equator.

I added oil to the bowl and rolled the dough around to coat it. The bowl was covered first with a wrung out wet piece of muslin, and then with a lid. The whole contraption went into the refrigerator for a slow overnight proof.

I took the dough out of the refrigerator this morning (at 9 am) and left it in a warm place to come back to room temperature.

This took about 2 hours, after which, I gently shaped it into a round loaf, and let it rest for 5 hours in the same bowl lined with a floured kitchen towel.

This slow pace was acceptable to my weakened stamina and incredible for flavour development!

I preheated the oven to 250ºC, with a thin baking tray placed in the central shelf ( guilty as charged, but it was for a good cause).

While the heat was building up, I turned the dough out onto a floured board and scored it.

Then, I took the baking tray out of the oven and set it on the stove top, slid the shaped loaf onto it, and quickly put the whole thing back into the oven.

I let the loaf bake for 12 minutes, liberally spraying water into the oven every 2 minutes.

I then set the temp at 180ºC and let the loaf bake for another 35 minutes. When the internal temperature had reached 95.5ºC, it was time to set the loaf on a rack to cool.

And the house was smelling like Santa had brought heaven in one of his packages.


I made a thick pumpkin, lentil and pork belly soup in honour of the bread, but the antibiotics are demanding their pound of flesh, and I will have to post that bit tomorrow. 

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