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Taming the beast in the yeast -- Sourdough Ciabattas are go.


After a lot of experimentation on my part and some considered research, I have finally settled upon a working protocol -- aka recipe -- for the baking of my preferred  breadstuff.

The  recipe begins:" 1. Capture your yeast..." My yeast was whatever was floating about my kitchen one Sunday a few months back. So my yeast has an address.Let's call it Northgate feral.

Yeasts also take a while to settle into a routine of bread making so my first few bake ups were challenged by a certain infantilism on the part of my domesticated spores. Now that they know who's boss and matured through use--  being put upon to raise dough to order every second day -- I can now say that I have tamed the beast in the yeast.

My yeast and I will  henceforth cohabit for years. It's like a new member of the family  -- except you don't have to take it for walks or change its nappies.

So to make my bread I mix 1 kgm of (supermarket bought) Wallaby Bakers flour with  4 teaspoons  of  Diastatic malt (because Australian flowers need this addition if you are raising with sour dough.) I then combine 2 cups of the flour with 2 cups of water and the sourdough starter -- a  very wet dough portion left over from my previous batch. I leave that to yeast up over night in a screw top glass jar (which is the sough dough's home -- a yeast kennel).
Laucke Wallaby Flour is a flour with characteristics that have been tailored to provide doughs that are capable of successfully meeting a wide range of Bakery requirements. Doughs produced are of good water absorption and balanced; being strong, extensible, and tolerant. Wallaby flour is used universally in the bakehouse and patisserie for yeast raised products such as standard white bread, bread rolls and most pastries, and specialist products such as pizza, hearth and flat breads, bagels and croissants. It is also used for most heavy fruit cakes, cream puffs, yeast donuts, buns and in fact for any product which requires a well balanced and tolerant dough. 
I then combine the remaining flour with one and half teaspoons of salt  and 2 tablespoons of olive oil Then mix it all with the sourdough that has been left to yeast up over night. As I  empty the jar of sour dough starter  into the flour I make sure there is enough remaining in the jar for my next bake . I return that portion  to the fridge.

I add 450 ml of water; mix the lot and knead, adding flour as I stretch and knock down the dough.. I prefer a wet mix with a high water component so that I can obtain a crisper ciabatta  crust.

After allowing the dough to rise for a further 4-5 hours I portion it into three bread trays and bake at my oven's highest temperature for 15 minutes with a bowl of water on the  oven floor. I then drop the temp to 200 C for a further 30 minutes and turn  the loaves out of their trays  to crisp up in the oven for another 10 minutes.

In bread baking lore -- especially with sourdough -- there are any number of ritualistic variations you can pursue.so long as you balance the quest to deepen the sourdough flavours with the risk of exhausting the yeast.

Pictured above: my latest bake.

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