The Fresh Loaf

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My first sourdough recipe

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Syd's picture
Syd

My first sourdough recipe

This recipe is from The Bread Book by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake and it was the second serious bread book I bought about 17 years ago.  It was quite forward thinking for its time as all the recipes include weight measurements (metric and imperial).  It is still one of my favourite bread books and it is definitely worth a buy.  It has really good photographs. 

Starter

230g whole wheat

230g water

Ferment in a bowl at room temp for 3 days.  Keep bowl covered with a damp tea towel.  After 3 days, it should be smelly, grey and slightly bubbly.

Sponge

140g water

230g unbleached bread flour

Beat (using hand) together with starter until well incorporated.  Once again cover with damp tea towel and allow to ferment at room temp for 24 - 36 hours. (In practice, for me at any rate, this step only takes about 5 or 6 hours).  I let it sponge until it peaks, then I make the final dough.  Don't let the sponge collapse.  The bread will be dense if you do.

Dough

55g water

20g salt*

230g unbleached bread flour,

* I find this amount of salt to be too much.  It works out to be about 2.5%.  I prefer using 2% so I use 13 or 14g.

Mix water with sponge,  Add salt.  Beat well.  Add enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Bulk ferment until almost doubled in size.  *Cut off 170 - 230g piece of dough to make the next starter.  Pre-shape.  Rest 15 mins.  Shape.  Place in cloth lined banetton.  Allow to final proof.    Preheat oven to 220C (425F).  Score.  Bake (with steam) for 20 mins.  Lower oven temp. to 190C (375F) and bake for another 35 - 55 mins longer.  I have always found 35 mins to be sufficient. 

*  Because this dough was removed after the salt was added, you now have salt in your starter.  It has its advantages.  It keeps for a long time in the fridge and slows down enzyme activity. 

Notes

This was the only way I made sourdough until the arrival of the internet and my discovery that  there were other ways of making it!

Remember the second time round your starter will have salt in it, so you need to subtract that from the total amount or just add 2% of flour added.

This makes a really good sourdough with a very mild (unless you retard) tang, but an excellent flavour.

Syd

 

Comments

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Wow! Nice 40% Wholewheat bread.. using the most ancient ways of making a sourdough, Syd!

I love your photography too!

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Khalid.  40% wholewheat: I hadn't thought of it that way.  I have made this loaf for years and always thought of it as 'French sourdough' which is what the recipe is called.  As I mentioned, it was the only way I knew how to make sourdough and it never crossed my mind that there might be other ways of making it!  What a difference the internet has made! 

Best,

Syd

ananda's picture
ananda

Yes indeed Syd,

I believe I bought the same book around that time too!

With features on great home bakers around the US and Ireland, a great photograph of  Jeffrey Hamelman next to his oven at Hamelman's Bakery, plus M. Roux on croissants and M. Poilane, just being Lionel Poilane.   It certainly has a lot going for it

I'm loving that bread of yours too; fantastic sour dough crumb!

Best wishes

Andy

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Andy.  Yes, there are so many photographs in that book that I love.  The 'bemused lad at afternoon tea', the Jeffrey Hamelman pic that you mentioned and his quote that 'sourdough is the highest expression of a baker's skill', the Bulgarian farmer with his harvest loaf, the waiter holding multiple plates of fresh doughnuts, the inside the cover pic of the farmhouse kitchen...  Really a great buy.

All the best,

Syd

Franko's picture
Franko

Great looking sourdough Syd!

Awesome crumb on that beauty, nicely open and even, and the crust has what appears to be a bold bake. The bake profile wouldn't necessarily suggest this but that's what I'm seeing. I'm sure it has a wonderful flavour.

Thanks for the tip on "The Bread Book". It's one I hadn't heard of till now so I'll keep an eye out for it.

Best Wishes,

Franko

plevee's picture
plevee

Moderately open & looking as if the bubbles have been caught in the process of streaming to the top. Beautiful!

Patsy

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Patsy.  Yes, moderately open is exactly how I would describe it.  It is not a very wet dough.  Owing to the fact that I never really weigh out the water precisely with this loaf, I am guessing its hydration is around 65% (maybe even lower), so no huge holes.

Best,

Syd

plevee's picture
plevee

I also recommend her book Country Breads of the World. The recipes are very reliable and  the selection is interesting.

Patsy

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Wow! I just looked it up on Amazon; $128 for a new hardcover, $97 for new softcover. An Amazon affiliate had some used in very good condition for $15,  so I ordered.

cheers,

gary

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Franko.  Yes, it is a bold bake.  This is what Linda Collister refers to as her 'version of the delicious, crusty, chewy loaf made popular by the Poilane family in Paris'.  The Chapter on Sourdough and Ryes has a picture of Lionel Poilane holding two of his loaves with what looks like oil paintings of more loaves hanging on the wall behind him.  All of the loave pictured have dark crusts, so I have always taken my cue from there. 

Best,

Syd

Syd's picture
Syd

Yes, Gary.  It doesn't come cheap.  It cost about the equivalent of 20 British Pounds when I bought it way back when.  I suppose it is because of its glossy format and lavish use of photographs.

Best,

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Syd,   That looks terrific.   Do you use the piece of dough that you save as starter directly or do you have to modify it in some way?   Her approach is not so different from what people are doing now.   And I love the straightforward directions for getting a starter going.   Did you do it that way?   -Varda

Syd's picture
Syd

Sorry, I forgot to explain that clearly Varda.  After removing that piece of starter I keep it in a lightly greased bowl covered tightly with cling wrap.  When I want to use it again, I add enough water to make it into a thick batter.  I never really measure.  I just wing it.  You could work out how much water you want to add, though, if you work out the hydration of the final dough.  I started making this many years before I bought a digital scale and long before I learned from others that  it was important to weigh out your ingredients.  I used to make this loaf every two to three days as my 'daily bread' and I knew how the dough should  feel to produce a loaf that I liked.  I guess my hydration is somewhere around 65%.  The best way to make the starter into a batter again is to break it into small pieces, add water, allow to sit for about 20 minutes (will soften the dough and make it easier to stir) then mix.  Now proceed with the recipe but remember that you already have salt in the ingredients, so just add salt of up to 2% of the weight of the flour you will now add.

Best.

Syd

holds99's picture
holds99

Nice everything---color, crust, crumb and scoring, a beautiful loaf.

Howard

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Howard. :)

Best,

Syd

holds99's picture
holds99

Syd,

First let me say that I have a lot of bread books, and cook books that I've collected over the years.  Anyway, I showed my wife, Charlene, your blog post and told her that the loaf you baked was from The Bread Book by Linda Collister & Anthony Blake.  She said: "You have that book!" and she went over to the book shelves and pulled it down.  Turns out I purchased it quite a while ago and forgot about it.  Anyway, it's in new condition and has a price label on the front jacket U.S. $29.95 marked down to U.S. $13.99.  Thanks to you I've found a treasure I had forgotten I had.  It looks like a wonderful book.  This is like Christmas in July!  I'll get to baking some of the recipes  soon and let you know how it works out.

Best regards,

Howard

Syd's picture
Syd

That's great news Howard!  Now you don't have to spend money to buy it.  And it sounds like it was a lot cheaper back then.  The flatbread section is great, if you are into flatbreads.  The pita recipe works like a dream.  You can add a poolish to it if you want more flavour.  I regularly make quite a few recipes from it.  The pictures are a real feast for the eyes.  Very observant of your wife.

Syd

lumos's picture
lumos

Gosh, I remember borrowing this book from a library years ago....though I'm very embarassed to confess I don't really remember any of the recipes in the book. It was before I became serious (or 'obsessed,' according to my daughter) about baking bread, so obviously I wasn't paying enough attention.  Looks like I'd better borrow it again to have a better look!

Really beautiful crumb, Syd. And thank you very much for reminding me of the book I failed to appreciate enough then.

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Lumos.  Yes, it is definitely worth a second look.  I still use the foccacia recipe to this day (with only slight modifications).  I learned how to make pitas and Indian flat breads from it, too plus lots of others.

Best,

Syd

lumos's picture
lumos

Just reserved the book to be delivered to my local library. :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I just want to reach into the picture and pick up a nice thick piece.  I can almost smell it!

Um... 40% WW?  I get 33.3% at best:  230g WW + (2 x 230g) Bread flour.   Did I miss something?  :)

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Mini.  Oops!  I think you are right.  I did the calculations again and 33.3% it is.  Blame Khalid, not me!  He said it first!!!:)

Best,

Syd

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Very nice looking SD bread Syd. Well done. Thanks for the heads up on the book.

Eric

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Eric. :)

Syd

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

The breads crumb, crust and color all are beautiful and tasty looking.  Nice photography and written up. Oh my, another great book ;)

Sylvia

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks, Sylvia.  :)

Syd

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Syd,
What a beautiful photo! That loaf looks nice and crusty, and oh-so-good.
Very pretty and symmetrical scoring, too.
Thank you for your mention of this book - I had not heard of this author before - perhaps the book is available through my local library (here's hoping!).
:^) from breadsong

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks breadsong. :)  It makes a very reliable loaf.  Hardly ever had this one fail on me.  I made it for years as my 'daily bread'.  Used to make a loaf every two to three days.  I always baked in a cast iron pot.  Got the idea from the same book.  And this was long before Dutch Oven baking was popularised by the No Knead method.  The only difficulty I had was getting the starter going.  I remember the first two loaves were a bit dense, but afterwards it was extremely reliable: more so than my liquid starter which I mostly use now.  The liquid starter is much more fickle and susceptible to changes in temperature, irregular feedings, etc.  The stiff starter with salt is much more forgiving. 

Best,

Syd