Sourdough breads use a fermented batter-like starter to make them rise; the 'funky' smell of the ferment is extraordinary and is responsible for the unique flavour of the bread. A portion of your sourdough starter is mixed with the bread's ingredients, while the remainder is kept and 'fed' with more flour and water to use in future baking. The smell of freshly baked bread fills our kitchens every morning and marks the beginning of the day, and our bakers will say that the secret to making really good sourdough is to take time, this is not a recipe for anyone in a hurry, 'slow food' at its best, let the process be one that you enjoy and savour. There are so many variables that affect a good sourdough bread and a little guidance is a must, why not book a bread class at Thyme and we can talk you through the delicate steps that will guarantee a good loaf every time. The results will be worth the effort.
To make your leaven starter:
- 125g organic wholemeal wheat flour (preferably stoneground)
- 190ml slightly warm water
- Use a bowl for the mixing and a glass jar to store your starter
- Mix your ingredients and cover with a clean cotton tea-towel.
- Find a spot in your kitchen that is not too cold and has a steady temperature.
- The next morning stir and replace the tea-towel, repeat for a few days and then continue to check. When you see bubbles forming, things are 'starting', that peculiar, grassy aroma is the sign that your ferment is fermenting; the slight froth will tell you that growth has begun. If after a week you have no activity ... start again!
- Now you need to feed your starter.
- You could simply add to what's in the jar, but it's better to reduce your starter before every feed, either by baking with it or simply discard. This makes for a fresher culture and stops it becoming too voluminous.
- So after halving the amount add your original ingredients to the mix again and once your starter is frothing it's ready to use.
To make your bread:
- 360g strong white bread flour
- 220ml cold water
- 70g sourdough starter
- 8g cold water
- 8g salt
- Combine water, sourdough starter and bread flour to sit.
- Dissolve the salt in a little water and add to the dough.
- Remove the dough onto the bench, stretch out and fold over itself 4 times. This is 1 fold.
- Repeat the above stage every 30 mins for 2 and a half hours.
- Remove dough after 6 folds, shape into a round (or whatever shape you wish) place into the floured baking tin or proving basket.
- Prove at a temperature of 12°c until it has doubled in size - at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Turn onto a hot baking sheet and slash the loaf across the top with a sharp blade.
- Throw ice into the bottom of the oven and bake for 25-30 mins at 220°c, or until hollow sounding when knocked on the base.