For the starter, combine 200g of the flour with 200ml of lukewarm water in a non-metallic container mix well making sure you get all the bits from the sides – a glass jar is perfect. Leave it somewhere warm uncovered overnight. The following day, feed it by discarding half and adding a further 100g of flour and 100ml of lukewarm water. Repeat this feeding process every 12 hours until you see bubbles throughout the mixture. It will take a few days, possibly more, for the mixture to pickup the natural airborne yeasts It will happen!!!! I was just about ready to give up – the kitchen was a mess, lots of dishes and utensils with bits of hard dough sticking to them – I even managed to get some on the windows that set like concrete and then majically one day the bubbles came.
One day, I think I put too much water in, so the next couple of feeds, I increased the proportion of flour to water. So there is no hard and fast rule with this stuff and once you have got it , you will realise you can play around with it, using different flours.
Once it is ready you can pop it in the fridge covered with plastic wrap with a hole in it and leave it until you want to make bread, remember the starter needs to be fed at least once a week. This is something I do when I make a loaf, if you don’t make a loaf you must feed the starter.
Photos showing starter ready to use or go back into the fridge.
To Look after starter:
Take the starter out of the fridge and bring up to room temperature. Remove 100 gms of the starter from the jar, either use to make a loaf or discard. To feed add 50gms flour and 50 mls warm water, mix up and leave in a warm place until it has bubbled up – around 3-4 hours. Then cover with plastic wrap with a hole in it and put back into the fridge. Repeat this every 5/6 days. If you think that the quantity of your starter is reducing, increase the feeding to 60gms flour and 60gms warm water. You can feed your starter with any sort of flour, I have added rye flour to mine.
Starter just after feeding
Starter after feed and 4 hours in warm place ready to go back into fridge
SOURDOUGH – 4 STEPS TO HEAVENLY BREAD.
- Bread Dough
Ingredients – Use good bread flour, white high grade makes a lighter loaf – if you opt for brown flours they need to be finely ground.
For the sponge 300gms
Flour 300 mls warm water\
½ tsp salt
BREAD DOUGH INGREDIENTS
For the bread dough
350 gms flour
60mls warm water – – if you are hand kneading, if you have a bread maker or dough mixer you can increase the water up to 120mls -this makes a much stickier mix but it also makes a better loaf.
2 teaspoons salt
You begin with the starter, then make the sponge, then the dough and then bake the bread. The leftover starter you feed and keep.
HERE WE GO – LETS MAKE A LOAF –
A day before you want to start a loaf take the starter out of the fridge and bring up to room temperature and feed it again it takes a few hours in the winter. If you want a loaf with lots of holes in it you can wait another day and give it another feed, let it do its thing at a warm room temperature and then get going. You can make the sponge without giving extra feeding but the loaf will be more dense.
TO MAKE THE SPONGE:
Take 100 gms of the starter and put into a bowl with 300gms of flour, ½ tsp salt and 300mls of warm water. Mix well with a spatula and get all the bits off the side of the bowl. Cover with a towel and leave for several hours in a warm place until it has doubled in size and all bubbly. This is called the sponge. (You can refrigerate the sponge onvernight but then you have to bring back up to room temperature again before adding the rest of the flour to make the bread.) In the winter it is OK to leave it out of the fridge in a cool place.
Sponge just after adding the flour, salt and water.
Sponge after 5 hours – ready to use to make bread dough or refrigerate overnight
What is left of the starter add 50gms flour, and 50mls of warm water, leave it in a warm place until it bubbles up and then cover it with plastic wrap with holes in it and put back in the fridge.
Once the sponge is ready add 350gms flour, 2 tsps salt and 60mls of warm water to the sponge and knead for at least 10 mins – up to 120mls water if using the bread maker to do the kneading, the dough needs to be quite sticky, if it is not add a little more water to the mix.
When it feels nice and elasticy – lightly oil the bottom of a large ceramic dish, put in the dough, cover and leave in a warm place until it doubles in size, this can take quite a few hours – sorry I can’t be specific, it just does its thing in its own time. Last one 5 hours. Depends on the temperature – don’t worry if it gets a bit cooked on top – doesn’t seem to matter – Gladwrap seems to fix that.
After kneading before 1st rise
Dough after 1st rise doubled in size
Tip the dough out and knock out the air, then shape it into a round loaf on an oiled baking tray.
Dough on oven tray – ready for 2nd proving.
Cover again and prove for about an hour or two in a warm place until it doesn’t spring back when poked – the dent that your finger makes stays.
Score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
After proving – ready to go in the oven
Preheat oven to 220 c put a tray of water at the bottom – this makes the crust crunchy.
Bake for 30mins until golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
Cooked – Loaf
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO MAKE ANY BREAD BRING THE STARTER UP TO ROOM TEMPERATURE REMOVE 100GMS OF THE STARTER EVERY 5 /6 DAYS AND FEED WITH 50 GMS FLOUR AND 50MLS OF WARM WATER LEAVE IT OUT UNCOVERED UNTIL IT BUBBLES UP, THEN COVER WITH PLASTIC WRAP WITH A FEW HOLES IN IT AND RETURN TO FRIDGE.