What Is Sourdough
Sourdough is a bread made from the natural occurring yeast and bacteria in flour. Sourdough bread contains four ingredients – flour, water, salt and sourdough starter.
How Sourdough Starter Works:
The sourdough starter contains natural yeasts and acids. The airborne yeast creates the enzymes needed to eat up or predigest some of the toughest-on-your-belly parts of the grain. This action creates carbon dioxide, which gets trapped in tiny pockets of dough, resulting in a natural rising of the bread.
The long fermentation process allows bacteria to break down some of the carbohydrates and gluten in bread, making it easier to digest and releasing the nutrients within it, allowing our bodies to more easily absorb them. This results in a lowering of the starch or carbohydrate content of the bread, which is helpful for keeping blood sugar levels regulated. It also increases some of the vitamin and mineral content of the grain.
Lactobacillus helps feed the good bacteria found in your digestive system so they can continue to fight off the bad guys. A healthy gut means a healthy body.
Breaks Down Gluten: The longer fermentation time breaks the proteins (gluten) down into amino acids, making it more easily digested. Therefore, some who have a gluten sensitivity can tolerate sourdough wheat breads.
Feeding your sourdough starter:
Your sourdough starter/ culture is a bubbling living collection of friendly bacteria that will be used to make your dough rise.
Sourdough starter is best stored in a bowl or plastic container, something which can be covered but not air tight. Be sure to allow room within the container for the sourdough starter to grow and rise.
To refresh or feed the sourdough starter taking the weight of sourdough starter you have add the same weight of flour and the same weight
For example, 200g of sourdough starter add 200g of flour and 200g water. Stir everything together.
If you have too much starter discard the excess and keep back what you need/want.
If the sourdough starter is stored at room temperature it will require to be refreshed/feed every day
For the home baker when you might only bake once a week your starter can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days and taken out when needed.
If using the starter from the fridge.
Take the starter out from the fridge the day before you plan to bake. This will allow the starter to come to room temperature. The night before you plan to bake refresh/ feed your starter as per the instructions above. Leave the sourdough starter at room temperature overnight.
The next morning the starter should be active and full of bubbles and ready to bake with.
Take what you need to make your dough(see recipe below). Feed the remaining starter and return it to the fridge to keep for your next loaf.
This Recipe is from Real Bread Ireland
This recipe is designed to allow every home baker regardless of experience to create a beautiful slow fermented sourdough loaf with the minimum amount of effort without any compromise on quality or flavour. In a modern world where time is so precious this recipe has been tailored to fit around the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
6pm start your dough, combine all your ingredients (there are only 4) bring your dough together knead for 10 seconds leave the dough for 10, continue on with your life, feed your kids, prepare your dinner whatever.
10 minutes later return to your dough, knead for 10 seconds leave the dough for 10 minutes. With this recipe the dough is only kneaded for a total of 30 seconds. The dough is kneaded for 10 seconds before being allowed to rest for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes the dough is kneaded again for 10 seconds. This is done 3 times.
After the third time of kneading for 10 seconds the dough will be ready to begin its initial prove. Place your dough into a clean bowl, cover and leave for 3 1/2 hours to 4 hours.
10pm just before heading to bed, quickly knock back your dough and shape and place straight into a Pyrex dish. Pop the dough into the fridge and leave to prove over-night.
Preheat your oven and bake the dough straight from the fridge…. 50 minutes later and you will have an overnight slow proved sourdough loaf baked fresh and all it required was 20 minutes of your time.
500g strong white flour
150g sourdough starter
Add the flour to a clean mixing bowl. Mix the salt through the flour. Add the water and sourdough starter to the flour. Combine all the ingredients together to form a rough dough.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Knead the dough for 10 seconds. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and leave to one side for approximately 10 minutes. As the dough rests the gluten within the dough continues to develop. It also creates time when you can continue on with your daily life.
When kneading, do not worry if the dough is slightly wet or
sticky. Resist the temptation to add any extra flour.
After 10 minutes’ return to the dough. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead for 10 seconds return the dough to the mixing bowl and allow the dough to rest for a further 10 minutes.
The dough will need to be kneaded one more time. After the third time of kneading for 10 seconds the dough should be smooth, smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the mixing bowl cover with cling film and allow the dough to prove for 4 hours at room temperature.
After 4 hours turn the dough onto a clean work surface and knock the dough back. Knocking back the dough simple involves knocking the air from the dough and equalizing the temperature within the dough.
Form the dough into a tight round ball. Line a 2.5l round Pyrex dish with a clean tea towel and dust with flour. Place the dough seamed side facing up into the Pyrex dish. Cover the Pyrex dish with a lid and place into a fridge and leave overnight.
The next morning preheat your oven to 230C. Remove the Pyrex dish containing your dough from the fridge. Flip the Pyrex dish over, so the bowl of the Pyrex dish now becomes the lid. Remove the tea towel.
Using a sharp knife cut the surface of the dough, this is what is known as the baker’s signature. The dough can be cut up to ½ cm deep. Cover the dough with the bowl of the Pyrex dish and place the Pyrex dish into the preheated oven.
The dough will need to be baked for 50 minutes. After 25 minutes remove the lid from the Pyrex and continue to bake for a further 25 minutes. Once baked remove the bread from the Pyrex dish and allow to cool
The reason for using a Pyrex dish is that it acts like a proving basket. The dish acts as a support to your dough. It encourages the dough the take on the shape of the dish and to prove up and not just to spread out flat. The dough will also be baked in the Pyrex dish.
Using a fridge reduces the temperature of the dough allowing it to prove slower and longer which allows for a greater development of flavour within the dough but also increasing its digestibility. As dough ferments or proves the gluten within the dough breaks down. The longer a dough is allowed to prove the more flavour it will contain and the easier it is for your body to digest.
By baking the dough in the Pyrex dish there is no need to steam the oven. Baking with a lid on the Pyrex dish creates its own steam which will allow the dough to rise and open up while baking. The Pyrex is very similar to the old style of Dutch oven baking.