Monday, 22 June 2015

Catching up

About six months ago, I let my starter die.

I was seduced by Richard Bertinet's book, Dough, and in particular, his French country loaf. I'd not really done any yeasted bread before, so I was surprised by how good the flavour was. About three months after discovering him, I'd neglected my starter. A further six months on, I've grown tired of bland yeasted bread. So I've whipped up a new starter and I'm back off to the sourdough races.

Recent loaves.

I'd pretty much stopped making high hydration bread, and I'd moved away from miches. My daily bake had become a white flour, low hydration boule that made the best toast and sandwiches ever. So I'm trying to get back to baking that, but I'm currently out of white flour, so I'm making it today with Matthews 6 grain flour.

The recipe is a deviation from Dan Leppard's White Leaven Bread from The Handmade Loaf, modified to reduce the hydration (and because I had no white flour.)



50 grams of vigorous 100% starter
75 grams of white flour
75 grams of water

I use a 100% starter, which I find easiest to maintain. I keep a pot with about 150-200 grams in the fridge. I'f I'm baking, I replace what I take out. If I'm not baking, once a week I just take 100 grams out and add 50 grams water and 50 grams flour to your starter.

Mix these together and let them stand until the leaven has doubled in size. Time will depend on the temperature, but here in a mild English summer, it takes about four hours.

Final dough

When the 200 grams of leaven has doubled, add:

10 grams sea salt
500 grams flour. (Normally I'd use Sainsbury's white bread flour -- the cheap one -- but today I'm using Matthews 6 grains.)
290 grams water

This recipe should give you a loaf of 65% hydration. I know all the best recipes like 70% or higher, but I don't actually like the bread it produces. The holes are too big, so my jam falls through and it makes crap toast.

I adjusted my formula using the sourdough hydration calculator.

Anyway. mix your starter, your water, your flour and your salt and knead for about 10 minutes. I generally find 5 mins enough, but you want to mix until it forms a nice clean dough. Pop it in a floured bowl and let it rest for an hour.

After it's had an hour, knock it back, shape it into a boule and then pop it into your banneton or a bowl that's lined with a floured teacloth.

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