THURS 12th MAY
It's good! Not fluffy, kind of hard, but light and airy, and it tastes delicious.
This the starter after I took a cup of it out for the bread, and then stirred fresh rye flour and water into it to replace what I took. Bubbling within minutes.
This is the starter plus three cups of flour (1 each white, rye and wholemeal), before I left it to rise overnight.
Then I took that risen starter dough, added another three cups of white flour to it, kneaded it for 15 minutes, then shaped it and left it to rise in the tin (dusted with polenta) overnight.
Arabella then specifies to put it in a cold oven, turn it on, and bake for a further 45 minutes after it reaches 180 degrees - so about 1 hour from when you turn the oven on. It's meant to rise a bit more, but it didn't seem to. Here's what it looks like fresh from the oven.
But the moment of truth...wait 15 minutes, and then look inside...
Tastes great :) Almost exactly like that mass produced Karl's Bakery Special Rye or Hausbrot you can buy in supermarkets. Will have to add caraway seeds next time :)
Very satisfying too. Not like normal bread at all. Lasts heaps longer.
FRIDAY 6th MAY
First I practised on hand mixed bread. I've tried packet mixes. There are multigrain, sourdough and wholemeal packet mixes available at my local supermarket. The ones I've tried all worked very well and the ingredients are reasonably edible considering these mixes are a mass produced and distributed product. I've tried making my own mix out of white (I was shopping challenged) baker's flour, instant yeast and bread improver.
This picture is the make-your-own version, as per the recipe on my big 5kg bag of baker's flour - I think it was Laucke Wallaby brand.
Then I followed Nigella Lawson's recipe for making sourdough starter and a sourdough loaf. She cheats though - she adds a pinch of dried yeast to the starter, and the rest of the sachet to the bread mix - so basically it's just a festy yeast bread, not a 'real' sourdough.
So now I'm going for the real deal, because I want to be able to create proper, gorgeous, chewy, wholesome, holey sourdough with things like soaked soy grits and bourghul in it - i.e. bread my children will flat out refuse to eat in their school lunches. That's OK with me - I've got home-made jam to get through ;)
So I'm using Arabella Forge's recipe for making your own sourdough starter (from her book 'Frugavore' -see www.frugavore.com.au Note that the name refers to frugal, not fruit - a fruitarian is a frugivore with an 'i').
Here, I took photos of the recipe - but I highly recommend the book. Did you know, for instance, that you should remove the gills when making fish stock? I didn't. I'd like to know why actually...does anyone know? Because I made some recently, from the carcass of a bream I caught, and I didn't take the gills out first. Is it a taste thing? If I make paella with it will I poison myself? ;)
I've been feeding the starter goo as per her instructions for about 8 days now, and it has good bubbles, like honeycomb, as she stipulates I must achieve (I waited two extra days for good bubbles - things improved after I moved my ceramic pudding basin onto the windowsill - I think it might have been too cold on the kitchen bench - it's cold here). I do not feel entirely confident, but I am pressing on.
So I have taken the plunge and mixed the starter in with some flour. This will hopefully be my first proper sourdough loaf. I will now leave it to fester (are you going to eat that? heh heh), sitting on the windowsil, until tomorrow. Actually, my 'windowsill' is a half bookcase sitting next to the living room window. I've used 1 cup of white baker's flour, one cup of organic wholemeal (I finally made the trip into town to a health food shop who have lovely sacks of flour-type goodness), and 1 cup of organic rye flour. The starter was made with rye flour.
Note, you have to use filtered or tank water - the chlorine in tap water kills the starter. I can't get to our tank water (I suppose I could get it out of the top of the cistern, but that's just ew), and I gave my water filter away when we moved, so I bought hideous, environmental disaster bottled water. Will have to sort that out.
So we shall see....I'll keep you updated.
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