I have been enjoying watching the program “River Cottage Garden” which is based in the UK (You can Google them and look at their website). On one of these episodes they were making sourdough bread. Now before No 1 daughter was married she used to make sourdough bread for us, and did a great job, but it always seemed so confusing to me and I didn’t really pay too much attention to how she went about it.
On this episode they explained it so simply and it seemed such an easy thing to do, so I gave it a try.
That evening I started my starter and fed it for a week. I started it by mixing equal quantities of flour and water (I think I used a cup each). At this stage I only had white flour so that was what I used. Once I had mixed it I placed it in a glass jar and loosely covered it with glad wrap.
I kept feeding the starter daily using equal quantities of flour and water. I mixed this separately and then gently stired it into my starter.
After a week you should see clear signs of fermentation.
I did so I started using it…. (this is exciting) The recipe from River Cottage Garden stated that you make a sponge mixture the night before you want to bake bread. So you get a bowl and measure out 500 grams flour and then add 700 ml warm water. Mix this together and then add 2 soup ladles of the starter, mix again.
Cover the bowl with glad wrap (cling wrap) and leave in a warm place over night.
The next morning take the bowl and add another 600 grams flour and 20 grams of salt. Mix well until flour is all taken up.
Place a few drops of olive oil on the bench and your hands so that the mixture doesn’t stick. Turn out the mix and knead.
Place in a greased bread tin.
Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm position until double in size (I leave mine on the shelf above our wood stove). This takes somewhere between 4 and 6 hours depending on the warmth in the room.
Keep an eye on the bread and when it looks almost ready preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
Bake for 45 mins. Turn out onto a tea towel when warm and wrap up.
I have just purchased a grinder and I now use fresh ground wheat flour.
In the morning when I add the extra flour I use 300 grams of white. When I use all ground wheat I get a hole in the middle, but adding the white stops that problem.
This is a double recipe, you can halve it if you like a smaller loaf.
I have made this into fruit bread too, just add fruit and spices in the morning when adding the second lot of flour.
To keep your starter going just keep feeding it equal quantities of flour and water daily. I feed mine after taking out the ladle for the sponge mixture at night.
This bread is really filling and I find that instead of eating almost a loaf for breakfast we only go through half a loaf, and it is really good for you too.
I also use this mix for pizza bases – I will post this soon.
If you have any ideas on stopping the hole in the middle when using all wheat flour – I’d love to know about it please.
Please let me know how you go if you try this recipe…