Another Sourdough bread


RECIPE: I somehow missed that my last post was my 100th since I started this blog! Oh well. I was keen to try a different recipe for sourdough to see if it was much different – if it worked I’d have another recipe in my repertoire, and one that required preparation at alternative times to my other recipe. I only had strong white flour, and substituted it for the wholegrain rye flour and strong wholemeal flour. This has to be done at a ratio of 3 parts wholemeal type flours to 4 parts white flour (ie divide the amount of whole grains by 3 then time it by 4 to get the amount of white flour to substitute. I used the same sourdough starter as before.

PREPARATION: At first I put in an equal amount of white flour as a substitute and my dough was too runny and wouldn’t hold together in a ball even after kneading. After some research I added more flour to the ratio above, and continued kneading the dough (in the stand mixer) until I was happier with the texture. I then ended up hand kneading it on a lightly floured bench between each half hour rest in the early part of the recipe. From there it really did start getting a nice smooth texture and held together well in a ball. It rose really well in the fridge overnight (in a bowl covered with plastic wrap), and continued to rise during the next day. I draped a damp tea towel over the dough, propped up so it didn’t rest on the bread, and put boiling water in a cup under the tea towel to add humidity, every now and then replacing the boiling water to keep up the steam. The bread is ideally proved at 20-22 degrees Celcius and 80% humidity. I placed the bread on a Silpain mat on a baking tray and as I placed it in the oven, I splashed water into the bottom of the oven to create steam – quickly closing the door. I turned the bread around halfway through baking, and splashed a little more water in the oven.

IMPRESSION: In the end, a similar result to the Bourke Street Bakery recipe. The bread had good structure and flavour and makes quite a large cob loaf. You could easily create two medium batons from the same recipe. I was really really happy with the result. Who knows? I may have finally won my battle against bread!

Recipe from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding by Justin Gellatly


400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
50g wholegrain rye flour
50g strong wholemeal bread flour
220g sourdough starter
350g water
14g fine sea salt
a little semolina

Put the flours, sourdough starter and water into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix together on a low speed for 2 minutes. Turn it up to medium speed and mix for 4 minutes, until a ball is formed – it will be a bit sticky. Leave it to rest for 20 minutes in the bowl, uncovered, then add the salt, turn on the mixer to medium speed again and mix for a further 6 minutes.

Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball, then pat it out to flatten it. Fold it into thirds, bottom to middle, then top over to bottom, and flip it over so that the seam is on the bottom. Dust with flour and cover. This starts the sourdough bulk fermentation. Every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours, do another fold, so you will have made 5 folds altogether.

After the final fold leave the dough for one hour, then roll it into a tight ball and leave for another hour (this is the pre-shape). After that hour, again reshape it into a tight ball, place it top down in the floured proving basket/bowl and leave to prove for 6-8 hours. Alternatively, after the pre-shape you can place the dough in the fridge for an overnight fermentation of about 10 hours (this will add a more tangy flavour to your bread). In the morning, put the dough on a lightly floured surface and form it into a tight ball. Place it top down in the floured proving basket/bowl and leave it to prove for 8-10 hours.

Preheat the over to 220 degrees Celcius and sprinkle a baking tray with a little semolina. Sprinkle semolina on top of the sourdough, then gently turn it out on to the prepared baking tray. Using a razor blade or a very sharp knife, score a square or ring on top of the dough and place it in the oven. Splash a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of the oven (to make some steam), then close the door quickly. Bake for 30 minutes, then take off the tray, place directly on an oven rack, and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven when golden brown and place on a rack to cool.

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