Sourdough bread

From the course at River cottage we got a sourdough with us. It was not just the macarons that got on a flight this trip, so did the sourdough. It survived against all odds and is thriving now. On the course, I also learned that you can slit the bread with a bread knife, a knife with serrated teeth. I always thought that this should be done with a smooth, sharp knife. I can tell you that it goes so much better with a bread knife! When I used a standard straight blade, I have often had to put some eight behind the slit with the result that the bread floats out and not retain its shape. With a bread knife I get a clean cutting at once with a very small impact on the bread.

Sourdough Bread

250g strong bread flour
240 g water
1 ladle full of sourdough

Mix together all ingredients the evening before you plan to bake the bread. Mix the dough by hand and work it till you do not see any flour lumps. Set the bowl in a plastic bag and let rise at room temperature overnight.

Sourdough bread
300g plain flour
25 g salt
150 g water

In the morning, you mix the flour, salt and water with the sponge until it starts to look like a dough, add more water or flour if you think it is necessary. Once everything is mixed, Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and knead it for about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a round ball by first flatten it and fold the corners of it a few turns. Then turn the dough and place your hands, palms upwards in the dough. Spin the dough by moving your hands back and forth. Then put the dough in a clean bowl and let rest for an hour. Repeat the procedure 2 times.

Once the dough has rested for about two hours, Turn out on to a clean surface again and take the air out of the dough by pressing it with your fingers. The shape the dough into the shape you want and let rise until doubled in size. This may take a few hours depending on how active your sourdough is. When the bread is almost ready, turn the oven to 250 degrees C, and at the same time, put in an oven tray. When the oven is hot, remove the oven tray and put the bread on it and inject some water into the oven, let the bread bake at 250 degrees C for 10 minutes then lower the heat to 200 degrees C and bake for another 30 minutes. The bread is ready when it sounds hollow if you knock on the bottom. Let cool on a bread rack.

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