Venturing in the World of Sourdough Bread- the Basics-

Sourdough Bread has been on Pebble Soup's agenda for a very long time. The interest stems from  the book reviews which I used to write, way back, for the now defunct "Paper Palate".

Reviewing "Crust" by Richard Bertinet, I probably missed a lot of details, I remember being fascinated by the process described in the CD. This is a book I would recommend if you are serious about making bread. If it took me such a long time to make a sourdough bread it's because of the starter. The starter is a natural ferment which gives the bread its carateristic flavour.

There are other issues working with sourdough, time is an important consideration. The process takes days. But as he said there is something very pleasant about the slowness of the fermenting process.

So after a few days, you end up with 2 portions, one which is discarded but not killed another with which you work with. The end result is a delicious thick crusted bread which will remain fresh for 3 to 4 days in a tea towel then can be toasted and still delicious.

I will not pretend to know much about sourdough. I am still very confused about what to do when. But it should happen like so :
  1. Make a basic ferment
  2. That will turn into a "dough" within 48h
  3. Which you feed with flour and water
  4. After 24h the "dough" is divided into 2 (this is when I got mine thanks to my neighbourg who gifted me the second half) but usually the other portion is kept, fed and the whole process starts again. It can also be dried.
  5. So the half is worked with more flour and more water and left for 12 hours.
  6. Now the ferment is ready, bread can be started.
Unsually I will leave you to find your favorite recipe but basically it goes like that:
Mix the starter and the bread ingredients
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it prove for 2½-3 hours (as you can see, I didn't  do this right)

 Turn out the dough, knock it back, divide it into two, prove it again for another 3 hours, Score and bake.
I will be back with a recipe for Focaccia Sourdough which is a brilliant use of the second "portion"


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