Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sourdough bread

You wouldn't think of me as a bread maker, now, would you? I wouldn't think of me as a bread maker!

But a food program on Netflix, called Cooked, that I saw months ago, had put the idea in my head. Did you know that home-made bread requires three ingredients? Shop-bought bread: 30+. So maybe it's not gluten that so many people have an intolerance to.

When a dear friend offered me 100g of her sourdough starter, I jumped at the opportunity. I had to keep it in the fridge over Christmas, as I wasn't going to embark on this adventure with an audience. But as soon as our guests were gone and my cough was manageable, on the 27th, I got started.

My friend had also sent me a link to the perfect recipe/schedule for making sourdough bread, so I was all set. This recipe has 4 ingredients: flour, water, salt and olive oil. 5 if you count the "starter", i.e. the bubbling dough that is the essential starting point for making bread.

And I was so lucky! The first time I tried it, everything worked out perfectly and the dough felt and looked good. It felt alive and springy. The second time, I think something went wrong with my weighing scales and I had to add a good bit of flour (or maybe it was just a different flour?), but I knew how it should look and feel and I was able to adjust my ingredients accordingly. Both times, perfect bread. Best eaten an hour or two after it comes out of the oven of course. If you want some starter, let me know. As it needs to be "fed" once a week when it's kept in the fridge, I have plenty on offer!

The water test! If the fed starter floats in a glass of water, it's time to make the dough. If it sinks, it needs to be fed again (equal weight starter, wholemeal flour and water) and it needs another few hours to rise.

Dough - before adding the salt

Dough is starting to expand. Ready for the oven.

Using a LeCreuset dish (I don't have a Dutch oven!). I should have sprinkled more flour on the bottom of the dish. The first bread stuck to the bottom a bit.

Just out of the oven.

Ready to eat!

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