For the sourdough (sorry still off-topic but OK'd by OP)
- this is more of a hit-or-miss affair and don't expect success every time!
There are two stages: preparing the 'starter' and, up to a week later, making the bread itself. There are many different methods: I have been constantly revising mine. This is what I'm using at present, seems to work the best for me.For the starter:
- Organic stoneground rye flour ("Bacheldre Watermill" is good - but see below)
- Still spring water (any cheapo supermarket brand will do so long as it's not chlorinated - but not tap water).
You will also need a 500ml Kilner jar.
The flour should be reasonably freshly-ground - say within the last six weeks or so. Bacheldre print a milling date on the package. Maybe this is not a good time of year to start - wait until some rye flour from the 2018 harvest is in.
Day 1: Mix together 25g flour with 50ml water in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in warm place for 24 hours.
Day 2: Add another 25g flour and 50ml water, mix in, cover and leave another 24 hours.
Day 3: Add another 50g flour and 100ml water, mix in, cover and leave another 24 hours.
Day 4: Pour away half the mixture
, add another 50g flour and 100ml water, mix in, cover and leave another 24 hours.
At this stage, the mixture should be fizzing away nicely. If it is not, repeat step 4 until it is. If no fizz within the week, your starter has probably failed - throw it away and start over.
Once your starter has got going, transfer to a kilner jar (not
a screw-top jar) and keep in the fridge. It will stop fizzing and separate into two layers, with a vinegary smell - but this is quite in order. Once every two weeks or so it should be 'fed' by pouring half away and adding another 50g flour and 100ml water and mixing in - return to the fridge after 24 hours. If you do this your starter will last almost indefinitely.For the bread.
(makes two loaves)
- 50 ml starter (see above).
- 1Kg strong wholemeal flour (again, Waitrose 'very strong' works well)
- 100g strong white flour
- ½ tsp caraway seed (optional)
- 700 ml warm water (tap water will do this time)
- 30 ml vegetable oil
- 2 level tsp salt.
Begin this the evening before. Mix the starter with 200g of the wholemeal flour and 100ml water, leave in a bowl covered with clingfilm overnight.
Next day, add all the remaining ingredients except the salt, mix well and start to knead. As soon as the dough 'comes together' add the salt, knead for 10 minutes. Return to bowl, cover with clingfilm and a teatowel, and leave in warm place to rise for....
Ah there's the rub. How long it takes to rise will depend on how vigorous your starter is - and the vigour of the starter may well change over the months to come. Rising will at any rate be slower than for yeast bread: I have found that it can be anything from three to six hours. The dough should at least double in size - on a good day it rises above the rim of our 29-cm bowl. But it doesn't have to.
Once it has done enough rising, knead again for 1 minute, shape into two loaves, put on baking sheets and leave to prove for about 70-90 minutes - this stage should be much shorter than the first rising. Then bake for ½ hour at 200C (as for wholemeal).
Good luck with this one!