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Lily Rose

Homemade sourdough bread

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Following on from this...

 

 

I stopped using my breadmaking machine about two years ago and went back to making bread by hand. Using an overnight method takes a lot longer but involves very little effort (little or no kneading) and gives greater satisfaction and, arguably, better bread. The shape is definitely better!

 

Yesterday (at home) I made a sourdough loaf and three small rolls and today I made two sourdough loaves, both using my own homemade sourdough starter created just over a year ago. Both times I used an overnight (virtually) no-knead method.

 

I used small loaf tins purchased cheaply last year from B&M as they produce loaves that don't take too long to cook - which helps conserve expensive bottled gas when on the boat. Tesco sell similar sized (very slightly smaller) tins for £2. 

 

For the B&M tins trial and error has shown the following quantities PER TIN  to be perfect in that when the dough reaches the top of the tin it has just about doubled in size and is therefore ready to go in a very hot oven (for the first half of the cooking time) which gives a decent oven spring resulting in a pleasing shape.

 

From trial and error I reckon 25% wholemeal flour is a good compromise by giving a nice flavour, a bit of dietary fibre and not too much impact on texture. The hydration rate I use is 60% (ratio of water weight to flour weight) and the starter* is at a hydration rate of 100% (i.e. each time it is fed I add equal quantities, by weight, of white flour and water).

 

* Making a starter... https://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/institute/cookery-videos/bread/how-to-make-sourdough-starter

 

My recipe...

 

110g strong (bread) wholemeal flour

330g strong white flour

100g sourdough (not much is needed when leaving it overnight)

5g (1 teaspoon) salt

264 water

 

Just before bedtime - put flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre then add the starter. Add the water to this and stir the starter and water together and then start to incorporate the flour and keep mixing until all the flour is mixed in. I do all this with a dessert spoon, as it's less messy than by hand, but but the latter stages can be done by hand if it becomes too difficult. Cover with cling film then go to bed.

 

First thing next morning - the dough will probably have doubled in size depending on the temperature overnight. Whether or not it has, I tip the dough out onto a floured surface, give it a brief knead (30 seconds) and then divide it in two, shape each half to get a smooth top and then place into lightly oiled tins. Apply a little oil to the crust (olive oil gives a nice flavour) and spread it using a finger or a brush and cover with clingfilm. The oil stops the cling film sticking when the dough rises up to touch it. Leave until doubled in size. This will probably take between 2 and 4 hours depending on ambient temperature. I sometimes speed it up by putting it in a warm place (e.g. oven at defrost setting or placed on a metal tray on top of a saucepan of very warm water).

 

When the dough is doubled in size preheat the oven to 230°C or equivalent. Slash the top of the loaf, or snip with scissors, down the middle lengthwise (this helps prevent the loaf splitting while it rises rapidly in the oven, known as "oven spring") then place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Halfway through this time turn the oven down to 200°C and turn the loaves round for a more even crust colour.

 

After 25 to 30 minutes remove from the oven, tip out and tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow it is done. If not, put it back for another 5 minutes.

 

This method takes a long time from start to finish but very little effort is involved. Making the dough just before bedtime  results in fresh bread being available for lunch the next day. Eaten the same day is best, as with any decent bread, but it keeps very well (better than yeast bread), it freezes well and it makes superb toast if cut thickly, say half an inch. The top crust, in particular, can burn easily when toasted so it needs a little care to avoid overdoing it. Next time I may try putting a small piece of greased foil over half the loaf to see if it keeps the crust colour a bit lighter at that end and therefore, hopefully, less likely to burn when toasted.

 

Photos from today and yesterday to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Why do the loaves have... well... 9nipples?

You rub them and the loaf rises and hardens. 

 

Obvious innitt 

 

Dough! 

Edited by rusty69
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1 hour ago, WotEver said:

Why do the loaves have... well... nipples?

Haha

 

I deliberately snip them that way with scissors at a 45° angle  to amuse my 6 year old grandaughter. As the oven spring takes place they rise up and make the finished loaves look like dinosaurs to her so she calls them dinosaur loaves.

 

Dinosaur loaves are better than tiger loaves.

 

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1 hour ago, Parahandy said:

Lovely , full of admiration for your skills .

Thank you kindly, though I wish I had some real skills such as being able to fix broken things on a boat or add stuff like more solar.

 

Anyway, yesterday's bread was very tasty. Even Lily Rose (the grandaughter, not the boat!) said a slice of bread and jam when she got home from school was "amazing". And she's a very fussy eater. She also reckons it makes the best cheese and ham sandwiches.

 

Some people might say an overnight method involving little or no kneading is not as good as bread made with a 10 to 15 minute knead. I say they may well be right. But no-knead is easily good enough. Pareto principles apply - if I can get 80% of the benefit for 20% of the effort that'll do for me. 

 

If anyone fancies trying this but can't be arsed with the effort of making a starter (it's easy), or the expense of buying one (not cheap!), or they just don't like the sourdough taste (I love it but I'm sure some people don't) then use the same method but with yeast instead of starter. Bear in mind though that only a tiny amount of yeast is needed, try half a teaspoon initially. Even that might prove (haha) to be too much. If you use sachets just put the rest in the fridge, it'll easily keep for week or two and probably longer.

 

I find one of these, at £2 + p&p, very handy... https://www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk/products/dough-scraper .

 

A bag or two of flour in the cupboard, some yeast or starter in the cupboard/fridge and water in the tank and there's no more worrying about having to find a shop when the bread's about to run out. 

 

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I make yeast raised bread all.the time now and it's bloody lush, I fancy sourdough but keeping the starter alive on a boat could be a challenge.

 

Might have to give it a go over the Christmas holiday 

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16 minutes ago, tree monkey said:

I make yeast raised bread all.the time now and it's bloody lush, I fancy sourdough but keeping the starter alive on a boat could be a challenge.

 

Might have to give it a go over the Christmas holiday 

If you ask nicely, we might let you have some Moomin-special starter at the Loughborough do.

 

MP.

 

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Just now, MoominPapa said:

If you ask nicely, we might let you have some Moomin-special starter at the Loughborough do.

 

MP.

 

Nicely 

 

;)

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1 hour ago, captain flint said:

Been intending to make bread on board. Bookmarking this, excellent resource, thanks! 

 

Presumably the dough needs to be warm to prove - where do you leave it?

Doesn't necessarily need to be particularly warm, it just takes longer the cooler it is. Longer proving times allegedly improve the flavour though I can't say I've noticed much difference.

 

I mix up the dough before bedtime, with a very small amount of yeast (say 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon) or 100g of 50/50 starter, and then let it prove overnight at whatever temperature the boat happens to be. In the morning I give it a quick knead/knock back then put it into the tin for its final rise before cooking. How long this rise takes will depend on temperature.

 

If the bread is needed for tea rather than lunch then I use the same method but mix it as soon as possible after I get up in the morning.

 

If it looks like it won't be oven-ready by the time I need it to be then I'll do something to warm it up a bit. Lots of ways to do this including...

 

Putting it in my electric oven at home on its defrost setting (very slightly warm).

 

Warming up the microwave with a cup of boiling water and then put the bread in there.

 

Putting the bread tin on a metal tray and standing it over a saucepan containing hot water. Not too hot though or the steam will start cooking the bottom of the loaf.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, tree monkey said:

I make yeast raised bread all.the time now and it's bloody lush, I fancy sourdough but keeping the starter alive on a boat could be a challenge.

 

Might have to give it a go over the Christmas holiday 

 

I don't find keeping it alive a problem at all. It must be getting on for 3 years since I created my starter and it's still going strong. On several occasions I have split my starter across two small jars (a jam jar is plenty big enough if you only use 100g a time for an overnight prove) and then left one in the fridge at home and taken the other to the boat. When I get back home more than a month later the starter in the fridge doesn't look great (thick sludge at the bottom, grey alcoholic liquid on the top) but I just take it out, add a couple of teaspoons of water plus the same weight of flour and give it a good stir then leave it out to warm up to room temperature. After a few hours there is evidence of fermentation so I give it another feed and then within 12 to 24 hours it has doubled in size and is ready to use.

 

Unless I know I will be making sourdough more than once in the following 3 days I keep it in the fridge all the time so I don't need to feed it (a little) more than once a fortnight, if that.

 

When I know I'm going to be making sourdough again I take it out well in advance, preferably 24 hours but I've got away with much less, and start getting it active again with a small feed at first and then a larger one once I can see it has started fermenting again.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, captain flint said:

Presumably the dough needs to be warm to prove - where do you leave it?

This is with conventional yeast. I've not tried sourdough yet. My boat has the calorifier in the cabin in its own cupboard. A shelf above the cauliflower is where I put it to rise. As has been said, the rise time depends on temperature. The temperature of the water in the dough mix helps. Warm, not hot, which kills the yeast, gives a faster rise. Without a cauliflower cupboard I'd look at arranging something above the stove in winter. Perhaps hang a small shelf from the ceiling from a cup hook.

 

Jen

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5 hours ago, captain flint said:

Been intending to make bread on board. Bookmarking this, excellent resource, thanks! 

 

Presumably the dough needs to be warm to prove - where do you leave it?

Its noticeable how even on a warm boat the rise time increases in the winter, in the summer I can hardly keep up with it :)

apparently a slow rise helps the flavour so embrace it and make the dough first thing and just let it do its stuff and potter.

 

otherwise use warm water, warm the bowl before use, take the flour out of the cupboard the night before and bung the dough near the fire

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