I have bad news.
While this piece of news may not exactly bother much of anyone, it bothers me on a very emotional, fundamental, devastating level.
Someone threw away my 8-month-old sourdough starter from the fridge.
This wasn’t so much a proper sourdough starter since I used the Old Dough method of acquiring sourdough – I add this piece of dough to every batch of sourdough I make, cut off a piece from the main bulk of dough, keep it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the fridge until I make a new batch where the process repeats again.
It’s not quite as exciting as the conventional way of creating sourdough, since I hear that intimately naming a newborn sourdough starter is just one of the thousand of loony things bread fanatics do from time to time for their sourdough starters.
But yes, this sourdough starter that I’ve had for 8 months, that I bake weekly, that has developed incredible, earthy, complex flavours from its dormant state in the fridge before its weekly addition into humble dough, that has received raving comments and gushes from people I’ve given a loaf or two to….is gone.
I’m back to square one. No words can describe the anguish (oh!!). Sigh.
I have a lump of plain, white dough sitting in the fridge now – a poor substitute for the cheerfully bubbly little ‘un I took for granted. It’ll take a while for me to get over this, clearly.
Anyway, this was the last batch I managed to churn out. It started out with just plain bread flour, but after I found immense flavour in a mixture of wholegrain flours, I converted. My advice would be to avoid going trigger-happy with the mixture of flours that you may have since you may need to add more water to the dough because flours like rye and wholemeal flour are really thirsty buggers.
Have a go at this recipe, get a feel of the texture of the dough, and then play around with the wholegrain flours (I won’t recommend dark rye though).
If you’re keen on your own homemade sourdough (the Old Dough way), there’s no better place and time to start.
I’ll be joining you, of course. Square one, remember? Gah.
One last crumb shot...
Recommended equipment: Metal Bench Scraper, Stand-mixer/bread maker.
Time required: Approximately 5.5 hours from mixing to cooling.
- 150g Sourdough Starter* (See notes if you don’t have one)
- 450g Water
- 430g Bread Flour
- 60g Wheat Bran
- 50g Rye Flour
- 30g Wholemeal Flour
- 12g Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Instant Yeast
1. Add all the ingredients except the salt into your mixer. Mix for 10 minutes. Add in salt and mix for 2 more minutes.
2. Pour out the dough into a container and cover/bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for 1 hour.
3. After 1 hour, fold the dough.
4. Repeat Step 3 two more times. Total of 3 hours for folding.
5. With your metal bench scraper, section the dough into 4 medium loaves.
6. Shape them into boutards (a rough oval, which is the simplest), place on a well-floured cloth with space in between each loaf, and let rise covered for 1.5 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 250C (or higher if possible).
6. Carefully transfer the loaves onto a wooden peel, score, and slide them into the oven. Mist the oven with water (don’t do this if you’re not confident or don’t know why you should).
7. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
8. Once done, leave the loaves in the oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes. This helps to form a thick crust.
9 Let cool completely before slicing.
Note: If you don’t have a sourdough starter, mix together 85g All-Purpose flour, 65g Water, a pinch of yeast. Let sit over night at room temperature for max 16 hours. Or keep in the fridge for 2 days for best flavour development. What you’re doing here is creating a pre-ferment.
* Remember: If you keep about 150g of dough from the main batch and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge, you’ll start your own Old Dough sourdough!