And this is how it all began…the surprise being that it actually worked!
There seemed to be a thing here for making sourdough bread in the wake of the pandemic as yeast took on the scarcity of unicorn tears. I was footling about on the internet and I saw someone say how you could harness natural yeast, feed it with flour and water and lo and behold you have your very own thriving, bubbling yeast colony, ready to add to a multitude of wonderful recipes. If the first bit works…
The jar on the right (George) is ready to use, you can tell from his bubbles, and when you open the jar, there is a pleasant, yeasty smell.
Now. Generally I am fairly easily discouraged when it come to my baking ability, but I persevered with this because the whole idea of making something out of nothing appealed to me…
I followed a basic recipe where you use 400g flour – so far I have only used bread flour, to roughly 7 and a half fluid ounces of water, with 12 – 14 g of starter.
A useful hint is to “autolyse” the flour and water – basically just stir them together and let it sit in a warm place for an hour or so…this lets the gluten in the flour absorb the water and do its stretchy thing.
Then you can mix in your starter, cover it up and leave in a warm place to prove. You don’t get as much rise as you would with traditional yeast, that’s why it’s left longer. Some people leave theirs up to three days, I find overnight is generally good.
Now you can start playing…through trial and error I discovered bun tins work best for me, also, grease and flour your tins before use, that way it comes out easier.
This was one of my earlier attempts. Not long enough in the oven…
Sourdough bread is more close textured than usual bread, something to do with the gas given off by the yeast and expanding..
I should also mention it’s a wetter dough too but don’t worry about it, just flour your hands and pull it about to shape, or scoop into tins – whatever. You’re aiming for a stretchy dough that is almost translucent. I had to enlist the service of Mr.CC as I have pulled a muscle weeding..
And there you go. I have discovered you can add stuff before you bake like poppy seeds…I must also say sourdough has a unique chewy crust, so to get this, put a little dish of water in your oven to make a steam effect.
These are poppy seed and cranberry…Don’t forget, a wetter dough means a slightly longer cooking time. I seem to be averaging 35 minutes with these little buns. Test by tapping on the bottom – if it sounds hollow it’s generally done. I tip mine out and let them have two minutes extra just to make sure they are cooked inside.
Then enjoy! They freeze well too and I promise you will feel positively prehistoric in your baking triumph!