One of the best times to have fresh bread is on a saturday morning : the crusts almost immediately with just fresh butter as a sneaky snack, then some more once it has cooled for a late breakfast/early lunch.
This is how I make sourdough :
Thursday night :
- Take the starter out of the fridge.
- Put half the sourdough starter into a big bowl.
- Feed both halves with the same amount of bread (strong) flour and water - so 1/3 starter 1/3 flour 1/3 water.
- Put the lid loosely on the starter and cover the bowl with a plate or damp teatowel.
- Leave both at room temperature with the jar on something in case it overflows.Friday evening, as early as possible :
- Both the bowl and the jar should be bubbly and look alive.
- Put the starter in the fridge.
- Tothe bowl add 450g of strong bread flour, 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Mix to a messy dough, adding a bit more water if necessary.
- Cover the bowl with a plate or damp teatowel.
- Leave at room temperature to prove until you are ready to shape the next day.Saturday morning :
- The dough should be have bubble holes on the surface and look like a very soft dough, if this has not happened yet leave for few more hours since this will depend on the activity of your starter.
- Generously dust the bench with flour keeping a small pile for sprinkling nearby.
- Gently scrape the dough onto the floured bench.
- Pat into a rectangle and sprinkle with flour.
- Fold into 3 like a letter a couple of times to form a loaf, sprinkling flour as needed.
- Either place in a greased and floured loaf tin, place on a piece of baking paper or cut into rolls (but this will affect the baking time so trial and error here).
- Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 2 hours or so to rise again.
- When you are 30 minutes from baking time turn the oven to 230°c and if doing a free form, not loaf, put a big cast iron pot with a lid in the oven at the same time to heat.
- When ready to bake either put the loaf tin in or put the free form loaf with the paper in the cast iron pot cover and bake for 20 minutes.
- Check and either bake longer as is, or for a darker crust remove from the tin or take off the lid and remove the paper and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Leave to cool on a rack for at least an hour before slicing (except for sneaking the crusts which I don't think counts!).
How I look after the Starter :
- Don't screw the lid on tight, it needs to breathe!
- Keep in the fridge, but try to remove several hours or a day before using and feed (as Thursday above).
- Feed with a similar volume of flour and water.
- Try to feed once a week, but the odd two or so week wait will not matter, but a layer of alcohol (the sour) might be on top if left longer - either stir in or pour off.
- A sourdough starter is like a million pets in one little jar so be kind!