My First Sourdough

29 04 2010

013. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch [more info]

Making my first loaf of bread was a labour of love because I’ve been growing my own sourdough starter culture (you can read more about how to make your own here, I used a simple flour and water mix). It took me close to three weeks to sufficiently ‘grow’ the starter after a near-disaster early on – it got inhabited with bad bacteria and smelt of vomit instead of fermented fruit…ewww!). Though I was that close to throwing the starter out and starting again at a later date, I did some reading and persevered, binning all but a teaspoon of the old starter and transplanting it into another sterilised jar. Within four days it was back to normal. πŸ™‚

Along the way I learnt that using boiled water (NOT tap water) is best as well as sterilising my spoons/cups before measuring into them. I haven’t had a problem with contimination since. A friend mentioned that metal spoons can kill yeast and that I should use a wooden one, but I haven’t found a problem with metal (I don’t own a wooden spoon) so far.

Making the bread itself turned out to be the easy part, I used a simple recipe of flour, water, salt and starter from a simple equation of 1+2+3: weigh your starter (mine was 150g) and add double its weight in water (300ml) and three times its weight in flour (450g). I used about 5g of salt instead of 10g, as sourdough culture is naturally salty in its breakdown.

Then came the fun part… strrrretching the dough every hour (over a period of three hours) and allowing it to rise. You don’t want to tear the dough as that gets rid of all of those lovely air pockets. I learnt that scouring the dough deeply before it goes into the oven is important, I was timid in my scouring and it resulted in an uneven rising. Another tip is to cover the bread in a bowl (or loosely in foil) for about 20min of its baking time before uncovering itΒ – it develops a really nice crust).

But all in all, it was a yummy scrumptious bread (although it could have had an extra five minutes of baking time) and went down a treat in my house. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe as part of my repetoire. πŸ™‚

Pictures below. Read the rest of this entry »

013. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch

19 01 2010

When will I have achieved this goal? When I bake a loaf of bread from scratch and blog about it.

Why did I choose this goal? Because freshly-baked bread smells and tastes fantastic! I don’t have a breadmaker so this will be from scratch.