Sunday, 29 April 2012

soaker



Saturday. A wet weekend ahead.

I am baking a sourdough with my own recipe. When I say my own recipe, I have to acknowledge Mick Hartley, Daniel Stevens and Emmanuel Hadjiandreou because their three books are my inspiration.

Ingredients

Soaker
30g Millet flakes
30g Rye flakes
30g Barley flakes
110g boiling water

Sponge
200g Doves Farm Malthouse flour
250g Water
100g Starter

Loaf
550g Sponge
200g Doves Farm Malthouse flour
8g Salt
200g Soaker
A glug of a nice rapeseed oil

Thursday evening I took my starter out of the fridge. My starter is a bit of a mongrel as I feed it white, wholemeal and rye usually dependent on what loaf I intend to bake next (but occasionally on what ever flour is to hand - that's not good is it? Bad baker. I place a good dollop (a big spoonful) into a bowl and add half a cup of white bread flour and half a cup of water. I placed a shower cap over the bowl and left it overnight. In the morning I added a cup of white flour and a cup of water to the bubbling bowl and whisk it up.

Friday night, before bed, I make the soaker. I got this idea from Bethesdabasics where Mick gives recipes for several soakers. I have used the seeds soaker before and there's a recipe for a multigrain loaf using millet, bulgar, oats and polenta, but I choose a combination  of millet, rye and barley flakes because they are to hand and I am curious as to the effect they will have on a malthouse flour sourdough  I have made on a number of occasions. I then make the sponge. I learned this method from the River Cottage Bread Handbook and I often adapt other recipes to incorporate a sponge as I find it reliable. Shower cap on, I leave the bowl overnight.

Saturday. This morning got up about 8 a.m. and added the remaining ingredients, using a scaper to bring the dough together and then I leave it 10 minutes and make some decent coffee and go back to bed. 10 minutes stretches to 30 (well its the weekend) I get up again and and kneed the dough for 30 seconds and then cover. When I first bought a book on sourdough (The handmade loaf) I was intimidated by the length of the instructions... kneed for 10 seconds... leave for 10 minutes... etc but now I realise that there is much more flexibility in how you develop the dough. Stevens likes to kneed the dough in the traditional way for 10-15 minutes and I must admit I often do this because, well, its fun. But the no kneed books with their short periods of folds, 10 minute rests repeated 4-5 times are just as effective and can be done whilst pottering about doing other things. I then leave it for an hour and then stretch and fold the dough as outlined in most of the books above. I then do this two or three times more on the hour. Today I fold and stretch the dough at half past nine and ten and by half past eleven the dough it smooth and stretchy. I shape it and place it in a round cane banneton well dusted with rye flour. We go to the pub for lunch and when I come back the dough has risen well. It has had in total about three hours to rise but the kitchen is only about 19C.

The razor blade slashes the bread nicely


I use a heavy duty baking tray which has been heating up in the oven. The oven is on its highest which may be around 220C but my oven thermometer is broken. I spray the oven and pour some boiling water into a tray at the bottom. After 10 minutes I turn the oven down to 200C - well, 200C on the dial, and give the loaf another 35 minutes.


Pleased with the results. Tasty loaf with a nice texture.

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