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Baking sourdough bread for the soup of the day : the obsessive quest

This post is not about the iPad or the cup of tea or the china ware or the bowl of soup. This post is about the bread.

A good  lunch is made a great lunch.

Sourdough starter is made with a small amount of old dough saved from a prior batch, and is sometimes called mother dough orchef. This small amount of old-dough starter contains the culture, and its weight is increased by additions of new dough and mixing or kneading followed by rest or leavening periods. A small amount of the resulting dough is then saved to use as old-dough starter for the next batch. As long as this starter culture is fed flour and water weekly....Sourdough bread is made by combining the increased amount of starter with another new-dough addition, along with any other desired ingredients to make the final dough. ... This final dough may be divided and shaped, then is allowed to rise, and is followed by baking.
It is not uncommon for a baker's starter dough to have years of history, from many hundreds of previous batches. As a result, each bakery's sourdough has a distinct taste. The combination of starter processes, refreshment ratios and rest times, culture and air temperature, humidity, and elevation also makes each batch of sourdough different.
My best recipe so far

My leaven is a wet mix made up from around 150 ml (my reserve starter volume which I keep refrigerated) to one litre and kept in the refrigerator overnight and for a part of the next day.All I do is add water and flour to the starter  along with a teaspoon of Diastatic Malt  and mix it up. We're talking at least 12 hours of allowing the yeast to get going. It becomes effervescent and sweet  smelling and looks like porridge.

I then scoop most of that mix (I keep about 150 ml in reserve for next time) into 1 kilogram of flour mixed with salt (a teaspoon plus) and another teaspoon of Diastatic Malt. I blend this with 700 ml of water. at for now about 3 tablespoons of olive oil ( not essential but I love the taste).  I used to use 500 ml of water but find I get the bread I'm after -- a Ciabatta  style loaf -- by using a very wet dough. I knead this dough by also folding it a lot as Ciabatta, being so wet, is traditionally folded. It's like wrapping a Christmas present.

I raise the dough for at least another 12 hours (in my oven but with the heat off) , divide it into baking tins  and bake at 250 degrees Celsius  for 30 minutes, remove the bread from the tins and bake for another 15 minutes or until I am happy with the crust and hollowness of the sound I get when I tap the crust. When I remember I place a small bowl of water in the oven when I bake the bread. 

Is this the best sourdough baking process? I know of sourdough bakers who approach  their baking with even more complex methods than this and I can understand the obsessiveness of the quest. 

It's like creating Adam out of clay. Gumby for eating. It's alive!

I am God. Adore me. Eat my bread. And He gave it to his apostles saying ,"take thee and eat,for this is my bread."
Dietary note: I find that if I keep to a procedure like this I create loaves that are lower in carbohydrate content (and no doubt with a lower Glycemic Index)  -- but still have enough gluten flex in them to rise well -- than if I deployed a faster baking process. You get warned about 'exhausting' the yeast but I find I can run these long rising times successfully perhaps because I start with such a small proportion of starter culture and utilize an initial rising by relying on refrigeration. If you are diabetic, reducing the carbohydrate content and raising the acidity is a dietary plus. The suggestion is that the yeasts pre-digest the dough before you get your choppers on it. [I can  test these elements by taking blood sugar readings 2 hours after consuming the bread.]


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