Sourdough bread – take 2

sourdough-12

As I wrote about earlier, I tried 5 & Spice’s recipe for sourdough bread and was partial successful. I updated how I maintained my sourdough and tried making it again the other day, this day with more success.

I had fed the sourdough starter the day before, and left it out that night. Next day it was nice, risen and ready to use. I mostly changed what I did on day 2, leaving it out much longer. The bread was not uniform as the original recipe, but with some large holes in it, I am not sure if it rose too long in the end, but it was much less dense and just as moist.

Here is the recipe again, for reference, and the steps I ended up doing, still very close to the original.

  • 200 g sourdough starter (1 cup)
  • 400 g bread flour (3 cups)
  • 8-10g salt (2 tsp)
  • 300 ml room temperature water (1 1/3 cup)

Method:

1. Stir together sourdough, flour, salt and water and mix well. It is pretty sticky. Turn the dough out on a working surface and see if it might need a little more flour, but be careful, it is a sticky dough at this point. (I know that where I store my flour it ends up having a high moisture content, so I usually need to add a little more flour than a recipe calls for).

sourdough-1

2. Stretch the dough to a rectangle, and then fold one end 1/3 over the piece, then again with the other end, so you end up with a 3 layer rectangle. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold again. You can’t really see the layers at this point, it is that sticky.

sourdough-2

3. Oil a clean bowl, and put the dough to rest in it and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it to rest for 1 hour.

4. Take the dough out and repeat the stretching and folding like before, 3 layers one way, 3 layers the other way. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for another hour.

5. Repeat the folding again, the dough should be less sticky now. Rest for another hour.

sourdough-4

6. Stretch and fold again and put the dough in a large, clean bowl. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and and rest overnight in the refrigerator.

sourdough-6

7. Take the dough out of the refrigerator the next day, about 2-4 hours before you want to bake. Now is a good time to pull a little of the dough from the top to put back in your starter, if you like to do put developed dough back in there. Be sure to close it up nicely. Let it stand to rise at room temperature for about 2-3 hours. It should be puffed up a little bit.

sourdough-7

8. Turn the dough out on your work surface, stretch it and form a round loaf.

9. Dust a cutting board with corn meal and place the loaf there. Let rest for another 1 hour or so. Score the top of the bread.

sourdough-8

10. Preheat your oven to 475 F/ C and put a Dutch oven in there.

11. When the oven is ready, take the Dutch oven out, and take off the lid. Careful, remember this is all really hot! Gently life the bread up and put into the Dutch oven and put the lid back on.

12. Bake with the lid on for 25 min, then take the lid off and bake for another 10 min.

13. Take the Dutch oven out, and carefully take the bread out ( I used grilling thongs). Remember, HOT!

14. Put the bread on a rack to cool

sourdough-11

I was pretty happy with this, and so was the family, it was perfect with some potato leek soup. It was not perfect, however, I might try some other sourdough recipes next to compare.

Soup and bread  - perfect toddler meal!

Soup and bread – perfect toddler meal!

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A Sourdough Experiement

sourdough-16

Last week I saw this post, and thought that looked like a really good bread. I also wanted to find a good recipe and opportunity to do an all wild-yeast sourdough white bread (many recipes I see use commercial yeast in addition to your sourdough).

I tried making it, and I wouldn’t say I was 100% successful. I have a few things I would do differently along the way when I try next time, and I think my sourdough might have been a little too inactive.

I started out by removing half the starter and feeding it the day before, this should make it less sour in taste. I did see yeast development, but maybe not enough.

Here is the recipe and how I did the steps, original at 5 & Spice.

Ingredients:

  • 200 g sourdough starter (1 cup)
  • 400 g bread flour (3 cups)
  • 8-10g salt (2 tsp)
  • 300 ml room temperature water (1 1/3 cup)

Method:

1. Stir together sourdough, flour, salt and water and mix well. It is pretty sticky. Turn the dough out on a working surface and see if it might need a little more flour, but be careful, it is a sticky dough at this point. (I know that where I store my flour it ends up having a high moisture content, so I usually need to add a little more flour than a recipe calls for).

sourdough-1

Ingredients

Sticky dough

Sticky dough

2. Stretch the dough to a rectangle, and then fold one end 1/3 over the piece, then again with the other end, so you end up with a 3 layer rectangle. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold again. You can’t really see the layers at this point, it is that sticky.

Folded once

Folded once

Folded twice

Folded twice

3. Oil a clean bowl, and put the dough to rest in it and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it to rest for 1 hour.

4. Take the dough out and repeat the stretching and folding like before, 3 layers one way, 3 layers the other way. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for another hour.

Folded again

Folded again

5. Repeat the folding again, the dough should be less sticky now. Rest for another hour.

Stretching, this time less sticky

Stretching, this time less sticky

6. Stretch and fold again, but when done fold the corners of the dough under to form a round shape and place on your work surface.

sourdough-25

7. Rub a bunch of flour in a linen towel and use that to line a large, clean bowl. Put the dough in there, cover with a damp towel and rest overnight in the refrigerator.

Towel with flour

Towel with flour

Ready for resting

Ready for resting

8. Take the dough out of the refrigerator the next day, about 2-3 hours before you want to bake.  Now is a good time to pull a little of the dough from the top to put back in your starter, if you like to do put developed dough back in there. Be sure to close it up nicely. Let it stand to rise at room temperature for about 1-3 hours. I should be puffed up nicely at this point, which mine really wasn’t.

Just out of the refrigiator

Just out of the refrigerator

9. Preheat your oven to 475 F/ C and put a Dutch oven in there.

10. Dust a cutting board with cornmeal and carefully turn out the loaf on the board. I found this to be quite hard, but in theory you should do it without ripping the bread. Score the top of the bread.

Ready

Ready

11. When the oven is ready, take the Dutch oven out, and take off the lid. Careful, remember this is all really hot! Gently life the bread up and put into the Dutch oven and put the lid back on.

Bread in the Dutch oven

Bread in the Dutch oven

12. Bake with the lid on for 25 min, then take the lid off and bake for another 10 min.

13. Take the Dutch oven out, and carefully take the bread out ( I used grilling thongs). Remember, HOT!

Done!

Done!

14. Put the bread on a rack to cool

The bread tasted good, but clearly didn’t rise enough, even if it did rise some.

I think that after resting the dough in the refrigerator it took a very long time for my dough to even get warmer, I keep my house pretty cool at the moment, so I should probably have left it out longer. I also didn’t like the method of resting the dough in a cloth, next time I will just rest in in the bowl, and probably take it out of it to reform the loaf and let it rise longer on day 2. I think a bunch of cold moisture was retained in the towel for me.

I really liked the high water percentage in this bread, as well as the Dutch oven method of baking, I will be doing that again for sure.

Danish Rye Bread (rugbrød)

Finished rugbroed

Living in the US, one of thing that is hard to get is Danish rye bread, or rugbrød. Sometimes you can get something like it in Whole Foods or specialty stores, but in any case it definitely tastes better homemade.

As mentioned in the Wikipedia article, Danish rye bread is a very dense sourdough bread. It is unlike any type of bread you get in the US, or France or Italy for that matter. It is the opposite of white, fluffy bread, very hearty and full of fiber. As far as I recall, Holland and Germany has something similar.

I found a wonderful blog post by a Danish family who had been experimenting with baking their own rugbrød and it was very helpful.

I did my own sourdough starter, and ended up doing like this:

Ingredients

  • 3 dl (300 ml) sourdough starter
  • 1 l water
  • 600 g rye flour
  • 600 g all purpose flour
  • 30 g salt
  • 400 g rye berries (kernels)
  • 100 g flaxseed
  • 150 g raw sunflower seeds*
  • 100 g raw pumpkin seeds*
  • 1 tbsp syrup
  • 15 g roasted barley malt flour**

* you can use any combination of seeds, about 250 g total.
** optional. I could not find this anywhere in the US, and omitted it the first time I made these. Here is a British website selling it, and explaining it a bit.

Method:

Day 1:

Mix the sourdough starter with 1 l of water, and add the salt and the 2 flours. If you have a high wattage mixer with dough hooks, you can use that.

Kneading

Kneading

The dough will be a little more sticky than regular, you don’t have to knead it a lot.

ready for rest

Ready for resting

Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a moist tea-towel and leave in the fridge for 8-12 hours or more.

Soak the rye berries in water and leave overnight.

Day 2:

1. take out as much dough as you took from your starter and put back, mix well.

2. Add a little water to the dough if it feels dry, mix in the syrup

Adding syrup

Adding syrup

3. Drain the rye berries (don’t worry of some of them look a little green – this is the natural color, they are not bad) and mix them and all the other ingredients in.

All the seeds

All the seeds

Drain the berries

Drain the berries

The dough will be ‘wetter’ than dough for white bread.

The finished dough

finished dough

4. Distribute the dough in 2 loaf tins, brush them with melted butter or canola oil if they are not non-stick. Even if you have non-stick tins they probably benefit from a bit of grease.

5. Put a little water on top of the breads and press some pumpkin or sunflower seeds into the top

In the tins

In the tins

6. leave to rise for about 1 hour. They will not rise that much.

7. bake at 180 C for 1 1/2 hours. They should rise and be firm, brown and sound hollow when done.

8. Shortly after they are out of the oven, remove them from the tins and leave to cool completely on a rack. It is important that you don’t wait too long as the breads release a lot of moisture and will go mushy if left to cool completely in the tins.

Here you can see the unique 'crumb' of the rye bread.

Here you can see the unique ‘crumb’ of the rye bread.

The first time I made this it turned out really well and very delicious. Our 1 1/2 year old loved it! Since we don’t bring our food at work and daycare, we don’t eat it that fast, but it freezes well. I cut each loaf in half and froze them separately.

The second time I made this I had to redo my starter, since I had let it die, but it is really simple to make.

I had a friend send me some roasted malt flour, and the addition tasted great, however it was a little hard to incorporate in the dough on day 2. I will probably add the malt flour to the loaf on day 1 next time.

Sour dough starter

I wanted to make Danish rye bread, which is a sour dough bread. I thought I would give making my own non-yeast starter a try, referencing the recipe for a chef starter in On Baking (a pastry textbook), as well as Camilla Plum’s (Danish TV chef – link is in Danish).In the end it turned out really well, and it was not difficult at all. It just requires a little time.

Ingredients:

  • 300 ml spring or filtered water
  • handful of organic blueberries or grapes
  • 150 g wheat flour
  • 150 g dark rye flour
  • 1 tsp honey

The On Baking recipe called for organic grapes, to help create the fermentation, but since I had none, I used organic blue berries; they worked well.

Camilla Plum’s version had honey/syrup and/or yogurt, I tried adding a little honey to help with fermentation too.

Since I wanted to make rye bread, I wanted to use half rye flour, but you can make it with any flour containing gluten.

Since tap water as chlorine in it which will kill the very small amount of yeast you will start with, it is recommended to use spring or filtered water. I suppose you could also have the water standing in the open a day or two – aeration will break down the chlorine.

Method:

Day 1:

Mix 50 g wheat flour, 50 g rye flour, 100 ml of water, the berries and honey in a small bowl. Cover tightly and keep a room temperature

Day 2:

Pick out the berries, and add another 50 g of each flour and 100 ml water. Mix vigoursly. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature

Day 3:

After 12-24 hours the mixture should be bubbly and smell sourly. Mix the last flour and water in.

After another 6-24 hours the mixture should be ready to use, all bubbly again.  I didn’t wait more than half a day, but ideally you should wait 24 hours I suppose.

Either use right away, or keep in a tightly locked container in the fridge.

When using the starter, always leave a little in your container, and add as much of your mixed, risen dough back to the starter as you took out.

Every 4 to 5 days, feed the starter a bit of flour and water and leave it at room temperature for 5-6 hours. This will keep the sour dough going until next time you bake.

Watch out – you now have something alive in your fridge!