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Sourdough ...


I have always loved the thought of baking my own bread but have never actually got around to it...until now! Inspired by The Great British Bake Off and the dishy silver fox that is Paul Hollywood, I baked my first ever loaf, Sourdough to be exact and it turned out amazing! In fact I am in preparation phase for my second loaf!

As this is quite a lengthy recipe I am going to try and explain it step by step. That way nothing will be missed and will hopefully produce a fabulous sourdough loaf.


Before you can actually get started on the bread you have to make a sourdough starter, which is basically like a yeast which will help the bread rise and give it that distinct taste.

A sourdough starter is alive so don't think you can make it and then just leave it, you have to look after it and feed it. As Paul Hollywood says in his book 'For the first week, treat your starter like a pet, don't just leave it alone.' 

Here is how you make it.

Ingredients

Sourdough Starter
250g strong white bread flour
5 - 7 seedless green grapes, chopped
250ml tepid water (warm water)

For each refreshing
100g strong white bread flour
100ml tepid water

Method

1. Put the flour into a mixing bowl, add the chopped grapes and tepid water and then mix to combine.
2. Tip the mixture into a large jar or plastic tupperware with an airtight lid. I couldn't find the lid for my jar so I just used some clingfilm. Just make sure it is airtight and has room to grow.
3. Once covered leave in a warm room to ferment (20 - 25 C) for 3 days. The mixture should froth up, a tip is to draw a line on the jar so you can see how far it has risen or falls.
4. After 3 days the mixture should be risen, bubbly and a bit darker in colour with a sour smell, not pleasant really. This means that your starter is active. If its not then discard half the mixture and add another 100g strong bread flour,100ml of tepid water and a few chopped grapes, leaving it for another 2 days.
5. Once your starter is active, discard half the mixture and stir in 100g strong white bread flour and 100ml of tepid water.You want to keep it the same consistency. (like thick batter) This is called refreshing. And is what you have to do to keep your starter alive.
6. Leave your refreshed starter for another 24 hours and it should bubble up and become thick and jelly like which means it is now ready to use.

Did I mention making sourdough is not a quick thing...

Now its time to make the bread!

Ingredients

375g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
250g sourdough starter
7g salt
130 - 175ml tepid water
olive oil for oiling

Method

1.Combine the flour, starter and salt in a mixing bowl. The amount of water you will need will depend on the consistency of your starter. Add 110ml initially and mix together with your hands. Then add the rest of the water gradually until you have a soft dough.
2. Pour a little oil onto the work surface and tip your mixture onto it. Knead thoroughly for 10 - 15 min, until the dough is soft, elastic and smooth. 


3. Tip the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or clingfilm and leave to rise for 5 hours or until it has doubled in size.


4. Once risen, scatter your work surface with flour and tip your dough out onto it.


Push down on the dough using your knuckles and the heels of your hands to knock out the air. Fold the dough on itself a few times to strengthen the structure.


5. Flattern the dough down into a rough rectangle shape. Fold the two shorter ends in towards the middle and press down to get a chunky squarish shape. Turn over the dough so the join is underneath. Now shape your dough into a ball with a smooth top.
6. Flour your ball and place in a well flowered bowl or bread basket. Paul then says to place it in a plastic bag with plenty of space to rise, I didn't have this so I just used a tea towel again. Leave the dough to rise for another 4 - 8 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Don't rush this part.


7. Heat your oven to 220 C (check temp if fan assisted) put a roasting tin on the bottom shelf as it heats up. Heavily dust a non-stick baking tray with flour and gently tip out your dough, trying to keep the domed shape. Slash the top with a sharp knife.


8. Pour 1 litre of water into the roasting tray in the oven. This creates steam which helps the crust form. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, then lower the temp to 200 C and bake for a further 15 - 20 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the base. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.


This bread is SO delicious and great toasted! I know this was only my first loaf but I am already hooked and taking orders so I can bake more :)


Recipe based/from Paul Hollywoods Bread.

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