Saturday, February 7, 2009

Long live Nino II

When it comes to raising a sourdough starter, I'm not completely clueless! Over the past four years or so, I've raised a few... but all sadly 'killed' by my then, lack of motherly instinct. My latest one Nino II, I only started about 2 weeks ago or so, rather capricous at the beginning, feigning death and all, but I never let him starve (thus far) so nowadays he is a well-behaved young wild yeast.

The first time I made my own starter, I used a recipe from Baker by Dean Brettschneider and Lauraine Jacobs. It is a long recipe with feeding schedule of how much to feed and when, it was a success! Revelation! Jubilee and amazement! Nowadays I am too lazy to be too precise of how much flour and water needed to refresh the boy, though I read somewhere that it's crucial. As for me, I feed Nino around half of his body mass, approximately, twice a day. When I have nothing to blog about, I might acquaint you with him and type up the recipe for the starter which is very very detailed and long! The bread recipe though, I'm happy to share it now. (The basic recipe for my bread also comes from the same book, it's very simple and rather excellent)

Organic Sourdough Bread
makes 3 big loaves or 18 small rolls (I usually make one third of this recipe)

1 kg organic white flour
300 gr organic sourdough starter (pane acido)
600 ml filtered water
20 gr sea salt

Sieve the flour onto work surface and make a well. Add pane acido and water, mixing well by hand and knead dough until the ingredients are well combined.
Put the dough into a bowl and cover. Leave for 20 minutes to rest. Add the sea salt and continue to knead by hand for about 10-15 minutes.

Lightly oil a bowl large enough to allow the dough to double in bulk. Put the dough in the bowl and cover. Leave in a warmish place for 3 hours.
Gently knock back the dough in the bowl, this will deflate it slightly. Cover again and leave for another 60 minutes.

Shape the loaf/rolls and leave for a final proof for approximately 2.5-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 240°C.
If you want to score the loaves, do it now using a razor blade or sharp knife.

Bake for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 220°C, if necessary turn them around. For the remaining baking time, leave the door slightly ajar to thicken and dry the crust. After 30-35 minutes the loaves will be ready. Cool on a wire rack.

1. I'm especially fond of the 'mie' of these rolls I made. It has air holes!
2. I cut the long recipe short, and I only proof the dough once. Normally I would start the dough before I go to bed, shape it, ready to bake first thing in the morning.
3. These rolls has chopped olives and rosemary added, my other favourite variants are walnut, with or without raisin and just plain olive.
4. I add gluten to my flour to make it 'stronger' to the ratio of 5gr per 100gr of flour.

ps. Am I going to be yeastspotted by yeastspotting wild yeast ?


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  2. Lovely bread, Mel, and excellent description of your difficulties and triumphs with yeast!

  3. Thanks for dropping by Trace!! :) Can't wait to bake something for you for this friday! xox mel

  4. Wonderful sourdough, and the top photo is just gorgeous. Thanks for joining YeastSpotting!