I have wanted to make ‘artisan’ baked goods for a long time now. The staple of any decent Artisan bakery being the sourdough bread, in my opinion.
I first experimented with a sourdough starter back in the summer. To be honest, I probably tried to achieve too much at once – embarking on two different types of starter at the same time (thinking I would achieve a time economy in the ‘feeding’ process). However, I only yielded one rye loaf which did not rise as much as I had hoped. I think this was a result of lack of ‘feeding’ and nurturing. That said, it was intensely flavoursome.
Anyway, a sourdough starter serves three purposes – it acts as a raising agent, prolongs the shelf life and enhances the flavour and texture of the bake.
The flavour will depend on the starter ‘aid’ and the age, or maturity of the sourdough starter. Therefore, is it fair to say that no two sourdough loaves will taste the same.
So in my early experimentation I used raisins as a starter aid in one batch, and organic rye flour in the other batch. Both offer the nutrients, wild yeast and bacteria required for a successful starter. However, I personally have had more success with this Paul Hollywood sourdough starter recipe which uses organic apples as the starter aid.
Followed stage by stage, you can achieve a fool proof sourdough starter. I tentatively left mine in the fridge for 12 days whilst I went away on holiday. After a ‘feed’ and a further day wait, my starter was in great shape so I was eager to put it to good use.
Maybe you are not as excited as I am by these fermented bubbles (you are probably a normal person) but they open up a whole new baking dimension for me. There are so many glorious recipes which include a sourdough starter that I am eager to try. Totally worth a little nurturing. Watch this space…
- 1kg strong white bread flour
- 1 organic apple, grated with skin
- 360ml tepid water
- Mix 500g of the strong white flour with the grated apple and water. Tip this mixture into a large airtight container. Cover and leave to ferment for 3 days.
- The mixture should now have a sweet smell, have grown in in size and will have some bubbles. Discard half of the mixture and 'feed' the starter by adding 250g of flour and 170ml of water. Mix thoroughly, cover again and leave for a further 2 days.
- If the starter is full of small bubbles, it is active. Discard half the quantity and 'feed' it again by adding the remaining 250g of flour and enough water to return the starter to a wet, sloppy consistency. Leave for a further 24 hours. If it becomes thick and bubbly, it is ready to use.
- Store your starter at room temperature if you are using it regularly, feeding it every 3 days.
- Store in the fridge if you are using less frequently and feed the starter a day before using. Allow the starter to come up to room temperature prior to using.
Source: From Paul Hollywood’s ‘How To Bake’ & paulhollywood.com