Chewy sourdough bread is one of life's great joys. Here's how to make it yourself at home - start today and in 12 days you can enjoy your own loaf (with lashings of cultured butter).
Treat the ferment as you would a burmese cat: it does not require exercise, thrives in a warm homely environment, and needs regular meals and constant chats. Also enjoys being taken away on holiday.
Makes two 500g loaves
Enjoy one freshly baked and freeze other to enjoy later. To freshen up thawed loaf, reheat uncovered in 150C oven for 7 minutes. Cool and serve.
330ml (1 cups) water
5g (1 tsp) active dry yeast
550g (3 cups + 3 Tbsp) standard flour
15g (1 Tbsp + tsp) table salt
180g ( cup + 1 Tbsp) ferment
250ml (1 cup) water
Warm 75ml of the water measurement. Place in bowl with yeast. Leave at room temperature for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Place flour and salt into bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix to combine.
Add remaining water, yeast mixture and ferment, and knead in mixer for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth, pliable and tacky. (Or mix, then knead by hand on a lightly floured bench for 15-20 minutes.)
Lightly grease a large bowl with oil. Place dough into the bowl and cover.
Leave at warm room temperature for 1 hours or until dough has doubled.
On a lightly floured surface divide dough into two. Cup and turn dough to make two neat balls. Place balls on a lightly floured tray. Cover with a cloth for 15 minutes, allowing dough to relax.
Gently press each ball out into a rectangle 24cm x 15cm. Starting from the shortest edge, roll each rectangle into a tight loaf (similar to a sponge roll).
Tuck ends in to seal and neaten. Transfer loaves to a lightly floured baking tray and place seam side down. Cover with a cloth. Leave for a further 10-15 minutes or until loaves have risen by half. Very lightly sieve additional flour over top of each loaf.
Preheat oven to 210C. Place a roasting dish on bottom rung of oven.
Using a sharp, serrated knife positioned on an angle, make three 1cm-deep cuts running on an angle down the length of each loaf. Cover loaves and leave for a further 15 minutes to encourage smooth tops.
Reduce oven to 190C. Place loaves on middle rack in oven.
To create steam, pour the 1 cup water into roasting dish on bottom rung. Bake loaves for 15 minutes. Turn loaves around in oven and bake a further 10 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom and are golden brown on top.
Remove from oven. Place on a cooling rack.
Makes 780g (enough for four times the recipe, or 8 loaves). Also called a starter or biga.
Skins of 20 apples
1.5 litres (6 cups) water
360g (2 cups + 1 Tbsp) standard flour
To make fermented juice: place apple skins into a bowl and cover with water. Cover bowl and store in a dark, draught-free warm area for 10 days or until bubbly and sour smelling. Strain juice and discard skins.
Take 500ml (2 cups) fermented juice and add flour. Gently mix until just combined.
Cover and keep in a dark, draught-free, warm area for 2 days or until mixture has a light foamy surface and smells strongly of yeast.
Use immediately or, alternatively, place in a sealed container and refrigerate indefinitely but follow these instructions:
To keep ferment indefinitely, feed it with about 15-20 per cent of its weight in paste (recipe below left) once a week and/or every time you remove some to use it.
To incorporate paste, add it to ferment and, using your hands, squeeze and mix to combine. Mixture will be lumpy but lumps will disappear as ferment feeds on paste.
If you neglect ferment, smell it before discarding. If it still smells yeasty, feed it with paste. Check after 24 hours to see if it is foamy. It's a good idea to note down the feeding dates.
PASTE TO FEED FERMENT
Make as required.
65ml (about cup) water
120g ( cup + 2 Tbsp) standard flour
Place flour and water into a bowl and mix until combined and smooth.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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