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(17 Posts)
Breadandwine Mon 09-Nov-15 01:03:34

Inspired by the tale of the Frog and the Handsome Sourdough, and the simple recipe posted by AwakeCantSleep on that thread, I thought a specific sourdough thread might be in order.

Here's Awake on the subject:
"...basic sourdough recipe is really simple, but requires a sourdough starter. (Which isn't difficult to make at all, btw.) I call my recipe 4x5:

500g of sourdough (mine is wholewheat), 500g strong wholewheat flour, 500g strong white flour, 500ml tepid water (adjust depending on sourdough consistency), 20g salt. Knead dough well. Let rest for 30 mins. Shape two loaves. Leave to rise in warm place for 2-3 hours. Bake for 55-60 minutes, first 15 mins at 230 deg then 200 then 180.

Result: delicious, chewy sourdough. I freeze it in slices and take out as required. Am just now munching on a slice of this bread with butter & honey. Heaven"

And here's some of her tips :
I only use wholegrain flour (wheat or rye, depending) for the actual sourdough. If possible, organic.
- the rise takes at least 2 hours, maybe 3. (I go off and do other things during that time.)
- my loafs are baked in tins, and each tin goes into a large food bag for the rise (keeps them moist)
- the oven needs to be really hot. I pre-heat for about 25 minutes, and I have a thick granite baking stone in the bottom of the oven which keeps a nice and even heat.

I really didn't expect to get on with sourdough so well. In fact I was convinced it would be a huge hassle and would never turn out right. Maybe it's all beginner's luck?? Anyway, so far so good"

Here's more info on sourdough including preparing a starter.

iamEarthymama Mon 09-Nov-15 04:29:12

Can I try this with gluten free flour, do you think?
I am in Edinburgh for a short stay and had delicious 'chewy' GF pizza last night.
I miss bread so much, i was dreaming about a doorstop of toasted wholemeal bread, dripping with butter last week blush

doceodocere Mon 09-Nov-15 06:27:14

Watching with interest.

I've just started with sourdough and am in an extended trial and error phase. The method above seems much simpler than the one I've been following, I will give it a try.

Notoedike Mon 09-Nov-15 07:04:27

Used to make sourdough every week, lovely with honey and sea salt or the most amazing bacon sandwiches. Not a great fan of the 100% wholewheat, I made a combo of rye, wholewheat and white. Great flavour too. Even managed to make sourdough pizza. I never used baking tins though, I had an old tea towel drenched in rice flour to begin with inside a bowl for the second prove. A square shaped loaf is more convenient though I always meant to give it a go.

AwakeCantSleep Mon 09-Nov-15 09:09:52

Thanks for putting this thread up Bread! It's nice to see people are interested in sourdough. Where I am from (Germany), nearly all bread is sourdough. Most bread is sold in small bakeries, and the variety is great. I'm really missing that, so I thought I'd give sourdough baking a go.

I've come up with the 4x500 recipe after a bit of trial and error. It can be turned into a wheat & rye loaf by substituting 500g of wheat flour for rye. For a 100% rye loaf the recipe needs to be altered to include at least as much (rye) sourdough as added flour (so at least 500g sourdough for 500g flour).

I should add that I've only been baking sourdough bread sine April this year, so I'm still at the beginning of the journey myself. I'm adding a picture of one slice of the 4x500 recipe (don't have a picture of the loaf unfortunately, but it's a square sandwich shape).

In case any of you read German, this site is the source of most of my sourdough 'wisdom':

I'm looking forward to read about other people's experiments!

Macaronipony Mon 09-Nov-15 17:10:59

Need to start my starter again as was neglected due to new baby! Interested to see the use of so much starter, I'd usually only use about 100g. Any tips for a good rise? Have the odd loaf that spreads out very flat...I guess could bake it in a cake tin?

catdoodles Mon 09-Nov-15 17:26:36

I do love making sourdough bread, and did have a starter that lasted for ages until my fridge broke down, but I have discovered that waitrose have a few sourdough breads that I really like so I buy and freeze those now.

Mominatrix Mon 09-Nov-15 17:40:53

I don't think that you can do this with gluten free as the natural yeasts ferment and break down the proteins in the flour. Additionally, sourdough have very long fermentations and the lack of strength of gluten free flours will not result in a successful rise.

I have read that some people who are celiac can tolerate a properly made sourdough as the fermentation process breaks down the gluten in the flour.

Macaron, I have a starter which is now in its fifth year and I don't use it often to make bread due to inconsistencies (once every 2-3 weeks?). I find that part of my problem with poor rises is too high a percentage of wholemeal flour - I have great success with high percentage of white flour. Another thing to prevent spread is a terracotta cloche (you can purchase these from Bakery Bits) - I winged it and used a le Creuset with good results. My rises take a looooooooong time - I don't mind as I think it improves the flavour.

I use my sourdough starter to make 2 batches of bagels a week, a batch of crumpets, and usually a batch of English Muffins (probably just called muffins here).

AwakeCantSleep Mon 09-Nov-15 17:56:46

Macaron I could get away with using less sourdough (probably 300-400g) but I like the taste and chewiness (is that a word?) smile and I've had good results with the ratio I am using. I normally use 100g of starter (which is the sourdough from last time I baked) and add 200g of flour and 200g of water the day before baking. 18 to 24h later and the mix is happily bubbling away, ready for baking.

Mominatrix this is interesting. I tend to get better results the more wholegrain flour I use in the sourdough (but not necessarily the rest of the recipe).

So far my starter has been incredibly consistent. It started off in life as a wholegrain rye sourdough, and I still keep that one (in dried form) as well as the wheat version which I derived from the rye starter.

I've had really good results reviving dried sourdough so now I have dried quite a bit of dough (of both versions) in case the one in the fridge goes off or dies.

AwakeCantSleep Mon 09-Nov-15 18:03:31

Macaron are you using rye or wheat? Rye loaves tend to run really flat in the oven, which is why they are often baked in tins.

For wheat loaves it is a matter of knowing how to shape a loaf so that it will retain its form through rising and baking. Proofing baskets can help, but mine still never turned out quite how I wanted them, hence I've resorted to tins. I plan on improving my loaf shaping skills though.

Another advantage of tins is that I can fit up to three 1kg loaves into the oven at the same time, rather than just one or two (at a push).

Breadandwine Mon 09-Nov-15 20:17:37

Earthy, until I came across Andrew Whitley's book, Bread Matters, I was also of the opinion that GF sourdough was an impossibility. However, in that book, Andrew has a whole section devoted to GF baking, including a recipe for sourdough.

I searched for it on line and found this article from the Guardian about how sourdough bread is much more digestible than other breads. There's also a link to the top 10 GF baking blogs - which I haven't had time to follow up.

Macaronipony Mon 09-Nov-15 22:09:00

Thanks for tips I use whole wheat for the starter then mostly white for the remaining flour. I was a little confused on the quantities above thinking you meant 500g of the actual starter! My proportions are quite different regardless so may have a go with those. I probably haven't been patient enough on the rise and I know need to work on the shaping as those I have spent some time shaping have come out better.

AwakeCantSleep Tue 10-Nov-15 10:22:20

Macaroni ah, sorry for the confusion. All the (German) recipes I've come across are written in terms of the sourdough rather than the starter. People will have differing amounts of starter in the fridge, but whatever starter you have you can make up the required amount of sourdough over a 18h-24h period.

Occasionally, a recipe states "use 50g of starter" or something but I just use whatever I have. I'm very relaxed about the sourdough itself, and have never followed any complicated regimes. The more complicated things are the less likely I am to keep them going smile

doceodocere Wed 11-Nov-15 07:19:43

Is the dough supposed to be very wet? I find it difficult to handle and have been flouring the surface liberally, but wonder if this is why I'm ending up with a very dense, hard to cut loaf.

Breadandwine Wed 11-Nov-15 12:06:47

doceodocere, Dan Lepard's method of getting more liquid into a dough (350ml water to 500g flour instead of the more traditional 310ml of water, for instance) is to knead for short periods with ten minutes interval in between.
(Method B in this post.)

And also - perhaps more appropriate with sourdough - you could use oil instead of flour, to help with managing the dough.

Use each loaf as a marker for the next - so if your loaf spreads out too much, use less water next time. And take notes of everything you do! smile

AwakeCantSleep Wed 11-Nov-15 16:51:15

doceo I second bread's advice to take notes. And try using a little less water. The dough should be a little sticky but manageable. The proportion I use in my recipes is 750ml of water and 1250g of flour (this includes the sourdough which in my case is roughly 50% flour/50% water). I find the dough easy to manage on a lightly floured surface.

Also the oven temperature is crucial for the bake. It needs to be a very hot oven, and be able to keep the temperature. The hot (>200 deg) initial temperature gives the bread a 'lift'. If there isn't enough heat, the loaves tend to run flat and develop a thick, tough crust.

I've got a couple of loaves in the oven right now; pics attached before and after the rise. I used 400g of wholegrain rye, 600g of white flour, 500g of sourdough (50% wholewheat, 50% water) and 500ml of water.

doceodocere Wed 11-Nov-15 20:00:42

Thanks for the tips. I should definitely take notes! So far I've just made each new loaf a bit different to the one before but I need to be more systematic.

I watched a few YouTube videos of people making sourdough and the dough did look kind of sticky. So I'll avoid using extra flour.

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