Readers, I bought a bread machine. From eBay, because everywhere that sells them new had run out, obviously. It’s a Lakeland Plus Breadmaker model, and will be the subject of a separate post later. But in short, I love it.
However … my husband said the bread was all very nice, but he wished it could make sourdough. So I started a starter, which I have named Brenda. She’s just equal parts of flour and water, refreshed every day, and alternating between rye and white flours. And I deemed her ready for work on Friday. Now, I’ve never made sourdough bread before, although I have had several goes at a starter – turns out the simpler, the better, apparently.
I have a friend, Piers, who is a professional baker (usually, he’s not baking during the lockdown), and I found this recipe in his mailing list Not Loafing Around. It was very complicated – far too complicated for me – so I simplified it a bit, and this is what I did.
And here’s how I made my loaf, with all due respect to Piers.
You will need:
200g organic white flour (or any bread flour)
160g warm water
And a big mixing bowl.
Just for the record, also used a plastic dough scraper, and a proving basket which Piers kindly gave me a year or two ago. Here it is, containing Brenda on one of her final rises. I don’t yet have a dough whisk, but one is on order!
The night before you want to make the bread, take 100g of your starter, and mix with the flour and water to make a smooth batter. You don’t need to worry too much about lumps, but smoother is better. Cover this starter (I used a tupperware type box) and leave it to its own devices overnight.
Not to confuse you, but I had about 600 grams of starter, so I completely skipped that stage, but it’s there for reference.
Mixing and ‘kneading’
360g starter (keep the remainder for your next loaf)
385g organic white flour
250g warm water
I did this first stage on Friday night: throw all the ingredients into your mixing bowl. Just bung it all in and mix everything together; everything should be mixed, but it’s not going to look like lovely elastic dough. It’s also going to look wet. I just put a plate over the bowl to cover it. And then on Saturday, I just used my dough scraper to turn and fold the dough in the bowl every hour or two, or when I remembered. Seemed quite happy, and was bubbling away. I started this at 06:30(!) and carried on till about .. 13:00, I guess.