Saturday, 19 November 2011

Starter Update

It's day 5 and my rye starter looks pretty active

A closer look:

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Starting Out

Here's the rye starter on day 3

Not very exciting from the top, but side on through the glass there are tell tale signs of gaseous activity:

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pumpkin Pie Interlude

While waiting for my starter to activate I decided to clear the fridge of the Halloween pumpkin.

It went down a storm!

Bakewll tart next?

Monday, 14 November 2011

To Start at the Beginning

I've already got a sourdough starter. But that's not very helpful if you don't. So I'm making a new starter from scratch. One way is just to keep a piece of yeasted dough aside from a baking and mix it with equal parts of water and flour. Over days it will sour.  For any purists though here is the process from scratch:

Pour one cup of tap water (boiled and cooled to lukewarm) or bottled water (hence chlorine free) into a clean vessel (glass, ceramic or plastic) which has a lid.

Tip in one cup of rye flower:

Mix (to a porridgy consistency)

Cover with a muslin or paper towel, and leave somewhere out of harm's way in your kitchen

Wait several days.

The pictures above were taken today at 9 am so I'm going to have to wait and see if it works!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Rye Sourdough - with a smile

Here's my first loaf since starting the blog.

On Thursday night I took my starter, which I keep in an plastic tub, out of the fridge to and added half a cup of rye flour and a half cup of water. After leaving the tub out overnight, the next morning I poured half of the bubbly starter (1 cup) into a soup bowl . The other cup went back into the fridge for next time.

I took my one cup of refreshed sourdough starter (my chef) and stirred it up with one cup of warm water and one cup of rye flour. After 4 hours I had a levain! It looked like this. Nice and active. Creamy and frothy.
Levain - refreshed sourdough starter

To this was added a cup of water and two cups of white flour. After mixing in, a further cup of white flour was tipped onto the tabletop and the dough mixture kneaded for about 10 minutes with sufficient flour being added only to stop the dough sticking to the tabletop. Then it looked like this:

Dough - kneaded and ready to rise

After three hours in a warm kitchen it had doubled in size and looked like this

Risen dough
 The indentations caused by poking the dough with my finger indicate that the dough is ready (because the dough doesn't bounce back). So now it is punched down to knock the air out of it. After a quick knead the deflated dough is placed in a whicker basket (banneton), lined with a floured muslin, and left ot rise.

Loaf shaped and resting in banneton
 3 hours later it had doubled in size.

Risen loaf in banneton
 so it was ready to turn out onto a baking tray

Turning out the loaf
 slash with a sharp blade

Scoring the loaf
 and bake for 45  minutes at gas mark 6.  End result : a rye smile.

Smiling loaf


Friday, 11 November 2011

Statement of intent

So far just a statement of intent this site will be a record of my home bread baking progress. Over the years (since the 80s) I've had three shots at making sourdough. My previous attempts have not been entirely successful. They petered out due to the fatigue of keeping a working starter going and lack of time. The results weren't good enough to provide a reliable loaf that the family would agree to eat in preference to shop bought. Several things have changed since then, not least the arrival of the internet. Also bread machines. There's more interest in home bread baking and more information published about it. So armed with Google and a couple of old trusty cook books I'm off on another bread adventure. I hope to record what works, and not forget what doesn't, but the aim is to share the secret of making reliable scrumptious sourdough bread and fitting that into a 'modern lifestyle'. Not much to ask for?