Monday, January 17, 2011

In the Kitchen - Sourdough Bread

I got the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook for christmas 2009 from my in laws and I loved it from the start. I must have been one of the only Sydney-siders who hadn't really heard of the bakery which was the origin of the book. I have since been several times and would definitely recommend it to anyone in Sydney.

Last year I started with the bread that took the least time to make, the olive oil dough, and it turned out to be a big hit. So much so that I can't count the number of times I made it over the last year. I didn't really branch out past this and the pizza dough.

Just before Christmas when I had a bit more time I decided to make my own starter following the instructions in the cookbook. It takes three weeks to get a reliable starter going but its really just a matter of feeding it flour and water everyday. I ended up with a pretty reliable starter in just under three weeks and made my first loafs of sourdough last weekend. 

My starter

This weekend I made a second batch. Making sourdough bread is not a short process, it takes three days; one to feed up your starter, one to make the dough and one to cook the loaves. That's not to say that it's particularly time intensive. It's not. It probably only takes about 1.5 hours of actual active time. What takes the most time is the proving, which the cookbook suggests you do overnight giving you fresh loaf of bread for lunch the next day. Here's the process:

 Keep 100g of your starter aside to continue to feed

Add the starter to the bowl of a mix master.

Add the flour

Pour in the water

Start to mix 

The dough beginning to form

Set aside to rise 

Turn out onto a floured surface 

Knock Back 

Knock Back

Knock Back

Set aside to rise again

Separate into three 

Roll into a dough ball and leave to stand

Spread out each ball

Fold in on itself

Roll into a loaf

Leave to rise overnight

Loaves after they have risen 

Loaves after they have risen 

 Into the oven

Loaves out of the oven 

Loaves out of the oven

Nice crisp crust and a soft crumb

We ate the first loaf with a little butter for lunch. Fresh bread is defiantly worth the effort, plus its lots of fun.

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