My Sourdough Bread
I've been making sourdough bread for about four years now and I must say the end result has improved greatly over that time.
I started off researching on the net for a recipe and made a starter...my first few loaves while they smelt like lovely sourdough, were like housebricks.
My friend then gave me some of her starter and a recipe and I was in business. although to tell the truth the things that I most needed to learn was some patience!
I've read lots of recipes and a few books and this is what i have arrived at.
I keep my starter in the fridge in a glass jar and aim to make bread once a week or so.
The day before I want to bake I take the starter from the fridge and empty the whole lot into a bowl, this is usually about 1 1/2 cups or so. I dont really measure anything anymore. I then put about one cup of bread flour and one cup of tepid water in the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and let it sit for at least eight hours. If it has been a while since i baked I will take a cup out of this and throw it away and do it again, if not I will put a cup back into my glass jar with some flour and water and put that back in the fridge and then start to make my bread with the remainder.
I soak a few handfuls of cracked wheat in hot water, i also sometimes add about one teaspoon of dried yeast to a tablespoon of warm water and one of honey (not true sourdough I know but it lightens it up a bit)
Tip another tablesppon of honey into the bread starter, along with some olive oil, some salt, any seeds that you like, the yeast mixture and the wheat, add a few cups of bakers flour until you have the consistency you want, quite wet and just able to be kneaded, works best. knead lightly and place back in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled glad wrap.
Once it has risen well, four to six hours or overnight, depending on temperature, knock down to half size and place in loaf tin. When it has risen again, bake in a very hot oven for ten minutes and about 220 for another fifteen.
This works for me most times, I am now experimenting with cooking in the old wood fired oven, havent quite got it right yet, see the burnt crust, but the bread tastes delicous.