Friday, May 08, 2020

FOOLPROOF Regular Home Baker SOURDOUGH Bread + Starter

Easy Wholewheat Sourdough Bread

I base my starter on Alton Brown's but I have a full time job so his full recipe would have been unreasonable for a real person.  If you want to original recipe, which will obviously work now that we're all trapped at home and it might be entertaining to baby your starter.  To start you will need a kitchen scale. 

Sourdough Starter (bread recipe afterwards)

100 g Flour
100 g Water

Day 1:  Mix the ingredients in a bowl, either Glass or Metal.  Cover with a damp tea towel.  It doesn't need to be wet.  I just wash my hands then wipe them on a clean tea towel.  Leave out on the counter.  I'm firm about the glass or metal bowl.  I'm not fond of food staying next plastic for too long.  I've seen videos using tupperware, probably because of the ease of the lid.  Blech

Day 2-5: Check but don't touch.  A dried out 'scab' might form on top.  That's fine.  Make sure the towel is someone moist but it's not a big deal.  When you see some bubbling (bubbling looks like the way the top of a pancake on the pan appears when it starts to rise and cooks) , you can start feeding.  It might start earlier than Day 5.  If you're hermetically sealing yourself into your house and not opening any of your windows or doors, it might take longer.

Feedings: This is where I veer from Alton Brown. He goes into Daily Feeding and 'Discarding'.  I think that is TERRIBLY wasteful, particularly in this time but generally I'm very frugal and hate wasting food.  Also, because you are not a baker or professional, you don't need to feed daily nor leave on the counter. It's just too much.  This will mean that your flavour will take longer to develop because the aging is slowed down in the fridge. 

Peel off the 'scab' and add 100g of Flour and 100 g of Water.  You need to weigh not measure.  The moisture level in Flour varies from place to place.  Mix thoroughly and leave out another day.  I then transfer the starter into your long-term container.  I use a large sealable Mason Jar.  I leave it on the counter for a few more days until it looks like you need to use it before it overflows or put it in the fridge to slow it down.  Now, every time you use it, let it come to room temperature for an hour.  And feed it after you've taken some out for the bread and return it to the fridge. 

This is where lots of home bakers go wrong.  They forget that they are working with a cold starter so some recipes assume you have 'warm' starter and 'warm' ingredients.  I keep my wholewheat flour in the fridge too.  You should keep it in the freezer to keep it from going rancid but I use it enough to use the fridge instead.  So the overnight rise in the fridge doesn't work well, if your starter and flour are cold.  Trust.  If your starter takes too long to become active, and bubbly, then you might want to leave it on the counter and feed daily (take out 75% of the starter and feed with equal amounts flour and water.  You can either throw away the 'discard' or use it in pancakes or cracker recipes.  In normal life, I couldn't be bothered.)

FOOLPROOF Wholewheat Sourdough Bread

500 g Wholewheat Flour (less 2 tsp)
2 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten (you can leave this out but then don't cut back the flour)
150 g Starter
250 g Water
10 g Salt
15 g Oil

In the evening, mix the dough in a stand mixer or by hand.  I like to knead in the stand mixer at least 15 minutes but it may be excessive since it will rise overnight.  I cover with a lightly oiled plastic wrap and set aside on the counter overnight.

First thing in the morning, push down and form into loaves.  If you like light sandwichy loaves, cut in half and form into 2 loaves and let rise 6-8 hours.  If you like one dense, chewy loaf, form into a loaf.  I use a well floured Banneton so it rises up more than out. Cover with the same piece of oiled plastic wrap for 3-4 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 400F convect or 425F normal OR if you did the fluffy loaves, heat to 375F.  Put a rack in the middle and one at the bottom.

On a non-stick silicon mat, turn out the Banneton.  Slice as you like to help rise more. 

On the lower rack put a sturdy pan.  I use the roasting pan that comes with stove.  You can also use a foil pan.  Don't use your 'good' baking sheets.  They'll warp. 

As you're about to put the bread into the oven, pour 1 cup of water into the sturdy pan on the lower level and quickly put in the loaf.

Bake the single dense loaf for 27 minutes in the middle.  You may want to move the loaf for an additional 2 minutes to the side of the oven in case the water pan didn't allow the bottom to brown sufficiently.  The 2 airy loves bake for 23-25 minutes. 

Let cool COMPLETELY until you want to slice.  It will be difficult.  If you think you want to keep around as your daily bread do not cut it while warm.  If you think you'll eat it all in a go, then go ahead.  Then bag in a clear produce bag or container.  It will last a week until you bake again, typically. 

For the banneton, you will need a 14 inch oblong or round.  Or 2 7 inch round bannetons.  OR 1 regular loaf pan. 

Wholewheat Sourdough Banneton Bread Loaf

#sourdough #sourdoughbread #bread

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