Sourdough - not that hard!

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bonniethomas06
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Sourdough - not that hard!

Post: #279385 bonniethomas06
Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:00 am

Hi all,

In the interests of keeping this wonderful forum busy, I thought I would start a post about Sourdough.

I bleedy LOVE it! When I started baking bred about 5 years ago, I thought it was so difficult and didn't even bother trying. But I mastered it after about two, got out of the habit and have just started again, since it went up to about £2.75 in the shops.

I could explain how to do it, but I pretty much follow Hugh Furley-Wurley's instructions to the letter http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/may/10/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-recipes-sourdough.

I would love to show you pictures, but I am afraid I have tried four times and can't get the file down to anything like small enough to upload :(

So please excuse the link to my blog, but I uploaded pictures here (bottom of page) if you are interested:

http://www.thefrugalapprentice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/worth-wearing-means-worth-reparing-and.html

It is a little flat I know - sourdough isn't a robust as normal dough, so I am on the lookout for a loaf tin. I must admit though, I quite like the long thin slices. It is tangy, has that lovely sourdough rubbery texture (in a good way!) and is gentler on the stomach. And a loaf costs just 60p to make!

Really, I would urge anyone to have a go - if I can manage it, anyone can! Anyone got any tips for a good sourdough loaf?
"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

My blog...

http://www.theparttimesmallholder.blogspot.com

Sadoldhippy
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Re: Sourdough - not that hard!

Post: #279388 Sadoldhippy
Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:34 pm

I use an old dough method, I break off about a third of my dough before I add the salt and put it in a tub in the fridge. When I want to make another couple of loaves, I take the old dough out of the fridge for a couple of hours and then add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water to make my starter which I leave overnight. The next day I add 5 cups flour 2 &1/2 cups water (tear off about 1/3 and put it in the tub) and 1 and1/2 teaspoons salt.
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Comments appreciated :-)

Gra
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Re: Sourdough - not that hard!

Post: #279396 Gra
Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:50 pm

If there is one thing to get me posting again is talking about sourdough. For a start I am sure the name puts a lot of people off, it did me for a number of years. Au levain, in French, or naturally leavened sounds much nicer.

Sourdough is not sour, or it shouldn't be, just an indeterminate something in the taste that gives it a real flavour combined with a lovely chewiness. Ordinary yeasted bread seems like tasteless pap afterwards.

And if you can make bread with yeast, then making sourdough is just as easy. Easier in some ways, it tends to be a slower more forgiving process, no need to work up a sweat kneeding, it prefers a few stretch and folds occasionally. Whereas yeast allows you to speed up the process, sourdough is best if you allow it to take its time and to develop real flavour in the bread. This means you don't have to be on hand all the time but can go off and do other things, need to go to work then put it in the fridge, pick it up when you get home, do a few stretch and folds, no time to bake, put it back in the fridge and bake in the morning.

The only thing is to keep a jar of your sourdough yeast or starter in the fridge and when you use some put the equivalent amount of flour and water back in, and to do this each week. Well with such lovely home baked bread you're going to want to do this at least once a week anyway.

Good baking.

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bonniethomas06
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Re: Sourdough - not that hard!

Post: #279403 bonniethomas06
Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:40 am

That's it Gra, it is a very forgiving process, although I struggle to fit it in with working full time.

At the moment, I make the sponge on a Friday night, leave it, knead in the morning, leave to rise all of Saturday, knock out and prove on the Saturday night and then bake first thing on Sunday. Only problem is then there is no bread for Saturday morning (last weeks' long gone) and you have to wait for it to cool right down before you cut it - so it is Sunday lunchtime before it is ready.

Need to work on the routine. Totally worth it though!
"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

My blog...

http://www.theparttimesmallholder.blogspot.com

maisieandgrace
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Re: Sourdough - not that hard!

Post: #279476 maisieandgrace
Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:36 am

Well, I may be brave and give this a go.Is Hugh Furley wurley the same bloke as Hugh Whittington thing-a-me-bob?

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bonniethomas06
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Re: Sourdough - not that hard!

Post: #279480 bonniethomas06
Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:15 pm

The very same - just my pet name for him...because I love him a bit.
"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

My blog...

http://www.theparttimesmallholder.blogspot.com

Gra
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Re: Sourdough - not that hard!

Post: #279508 Gra
Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:27 pm

Bonnie, I think Hugh's recipe is good but over complicated. The method of making a sponge first adds flavour to the process but if you put the dough in the fridge, say overnight or any similar length of time will give you that same extra flavour. So making the sponge adds an extra step, a complication to the process.

One thing Hugh doesn't mention is that in forming your starter you should keep a check on the weight of flour and water you use at each stage. Otherwise when you use some of your starter you won't know the proportion of flour to water, so you will not be able to accurately know what your final dough mix will be (the style of bread is most dependent on the exact ratio of flour to water). I find it easiest if you mix your starter with equal weights of flour and water. You then know exactly what you are adding to your mix and also what weights of flour and water you need to add back to replenish your starter.

It depends on what type of bread you want to make as to themix, the proportion of flour to water, but I usually make up the mix with about 10% of the starter. I then mix all the ingredients together and knead only sufficient to mix thoroughly, no heavy work out. About an hour or so later, i knead lightly again, then at approx. 1 hour intervals I stretch and fold the dough - this is simply pulling the dough with one hand, stretching as much as you can without it tearing, and then just folding it back over itself, turning through 90deg and repeating for another 4 or 5 times. I then repeat this stretch and fold process at about another 2 hourly intervals. The dough will then feel quite elastic but also taut. It can then be shaped, left to prove and baked as normal.

Now this may sound rather demanding all this hourly interventions, not really because none of it needs to be precise and if this is not convenient you just stick it in the fridge with clingfilm or a plastic bag over it. Doing more often than hourly will make the dough too taut - good for beigals but not other breads.
I find a quick mix in the morning or the night before, into the fridge, take it out after work and whilst watching telly do the various stretch and folds, back into the fridge if necessary, shape and bake when you can. Because it is a slow cool process it is quite forgiving, quite different to when I first made bread and was told you had to keep everything warm and on the go.

I reckon a dough will still be good if it has spent 2 days in the fridge, so long as you take it out occaisionally and do the stretch and fold. After that the sourness will start to become more noticeable and the dough overproved, losing its tautness, its texture and rise.


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