Loafing around with sourdough

Rosemary sourdough sliceRosemary sourdough loaf









Here is my rosemary sourdough loaf, with a touch of rye. My initial recipe was adapted from here. Mostly I added rosemary and reduced the amount of starter (and a tiny bit of the flour and water) because i didn’t have much at the time and baking was calling. I am posting this as a testament to the resilience of bread, despite how many mistakes you make! There is a happy ending – because I ended up having to let this rise four times its flavour is lovely and sour. Why four times you ask?

The first mistake I made was that after kneading in the flour I could not for the life of me remember whether I’d used strong white or plain white flour. Plain white flour was out on the table you see, because I’d just been baking some millionaire’s shortbread. I wanted to bin the dough, but was persuaded not to. I hoped me of 15 minutes ago hadn’t been silly enough to use the plain flour.

The first prove was fine. For the second, it was too late in the evening so I decided to let it prove overnight in the banneton and just wake up early to bake. Of course, I didn’t wake up early. At 9:30am I discovered it bubbling monstrously. When it was plopped out of the banneton it was a sad, saggy heap. Rather than putting it in the oven I decided to knead in 50g or so of starter, because I was not sure the existing starter in the loaf would rise again, seeing as I had already reduced the original amount. In to the well floured banneton it went.

Sadly, it clung to the banneton in one sticky spot and managed to slightly deflate the loaf; and me. I wanted a nice domed spiral design as this was my first time using a banneton: so why wouldn’t it work?!?!? So I kneaded it again, folded it up and floured that banneton again as best as I could. A little while later the moment of truth arrived. And it arrived in the shape of a nicely formed loaf WOOOOHOOOO!!!! An added bonus was that the texture resembled bread made with strong flour. Phew, I hadn’t used plain after all. Rollercoaster.

I’m not usually this absent minded about bread.

So I would like this to be a note to myself and others that bread can be rescued so don’t give up on it :).

Here are the ingredients (minus the extra starter I added later):

  • 400g strong white flour (NOT PLAIN!)
  • 150g active sourdough starter (I used a pure rye starter, I prefer it to the pure white flour starter i used to use)
  • 200ml water
  • 10g brown sugar
  • 9g salt

Instructions (minus mistakes):

1) Mix all the dry ingredients then mix in the wet.

2) Bring together into a rough ball and knead until a windowpane effect is achieved

windowpane test









3) Let it rise for a few hours. This can vary depending on the temperature. My kitchen is cold so I recall letting it rise for 6 hours-ish.

4) Knock back and place in a well floured banneton (I don’t have corn meal but do use that if you have it)

5) Cover and let rise (not for too long!!) until double in size.

6) Bake at 230C for 10 minutes with a tray of hot water at the bottom of the oven in order to create steam (better to turn the fan off if you have one and it is possible to do so). After 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 180C and take out the tray of water. You may use the fan assisted option at this point. Bake for 20-25 minutes longer.

Thanks for reading and I hope my silly mistakes can inspire people not to give up!



2 thoughts on “Loafing around with sourdough

  1. Congrats! This looks great. I too – like you – had initially relied on a starter that was based on yoghurt and buttermilk and was with white flour and then moved on to pure rye starter. Great blog!

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