Sourdough September

With our showroom located in The Old Bakery, it is very fitting that that we should focus on bread and #sourdoughseptember. As part of the Real Bread Awareness Campaign, since 2013, September has been designated as Sourdough month. Around the world, cookery schools, artisans and real bread bakers are helping to share sourdough secrets and demystify the delicious delights of the oldest way of raising a loaf.

Wild thing, you make my loaf spring!

To make sourdough bread you need to use a ‘starter’ mixture that takes the place of yeast. The starter takes about five days to develop, but once you have it you can keep it alive and use it whenever needed.

The La Cornue unique G4 vaulted oven, offers exceptional baking for bread and pastry, providing consistent, professional and outstanding results every time. Please get in touch with us at The Old Bakery, if you would like to find out more.

 
La Cornue Vaulted Oven

La Cornue Vaulted Oven

 

Sourdough Starter: Ingredients

Day 1

  • 75ml/5 tbsp fresh, live, full-fat, plain yoghurt

  • 175ml/6fl oz skimmed milk

Day 2

  • 120g/4oz strong white flour

Day 4

  • 180g/6oz strong white flour

  • 100ml/3½fl oz water

  • 40ml/3 tbsp milk

Day 5

  • 150g/5½oz strong white flour

  • 150ml/5½fl oz water

Method

  1. On day one, heat the milk in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Place the yoghurt into a bowl and stir in the warmed milk. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours until thickened. Stir in any liquids that may have separated.

  2. On day two, stir the flour into the yoghurt, incorporating evenly. Cover and leave at room temperature (about 20C) for two days. The mixture should be full of bubbles and smell pleasantly sour.

  3. On day four, add the flour to the starter with the water and the milk. Cover and leave at warm room temperature for 12-24 hours.

  4. On day five the starter should be quite active now and be full of little bubbles. Remove half of the starter and discard. Add the flour and the water to the remaining starter and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave at warm room temperature for 24 hours.

  5. On day six the starter should be ready to use. You can keep the starter at room temperature, but you will need to feed it daily. Combine equal parts of the starter, water and flour and mix thoroughly. You may have to discard some of the starter so that you do not end up with too much. Keep covered and use as needed.

  6. If baking less often keep the starter covered in the fridge, feeding it once every five days or so by mixing equal parts of starter, flour and water. You can freeze some of your starter too, as a back-up in case you need to start again.

Sourdough recipe

Sourdough Ingredients

500g/1lb 2oz strong unbleached white bread flour, plus extra for flouring

  • 300g/10½oz sourdough starter

  • 250ml/9fl oz water

  • 10g/¼oz brown sugar

  • 10g/¼oz salt

  • flavourless oil, for greasing

Method

  1. Mix together the flour, sourdough starter and water in a bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Turn out on to a clean kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the 'windowpane effect' is achieved (where the dough can be stretched until it is so thin that it becomes transparent).

  2. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it prove for 2½-3 hours. You won't notice as much of a rise in the dough as you would with a normal, yeasted bread and it will take a lot longer.

  3. Turn out the dough onto a clean kitchen surface and knock back. Portion the dough into two and shape into two ball-shaped loaves. Flour generously, and place each loaf seam side up in a bowl, lined with a couche cloth or a heavily-floured tea towel - without the cloth, your loaf will stick in the bowl and you won't be able to turn it out. Leave to prove for a further 2½ hours.

  4. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8. Put a few ice cubes or cold water into a baking tin and place in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Turn the loaves out onto a baking tray or hot baking stone. Using a thin sharp knife score two or three times on the top of the loaf and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a good crust has formed and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the base.

Credit: BBC Food

Rachel Dance