Recently I have been learning how to make sourdough bread. Before dried yeast in packets were available this was how most bread was made. Instead of the yeast you use a ‘starter’ which is a mixture of flour and water that ferments and produces it’s own good bacteria’s to make your bread rise. Sourdough is easier on the digestive system and cheap to make. It also has an amazing flavour and texture.
I followed instructions to make my starter over a period of 7 days. You can see how to do that here at the Sourdough Bakers website. It says there that it takes 6 weeks for the starter to be viable to use on its own to produce bread but I found mine seems to be working after about 4 weeks. In the meantime you can make semi-leaven breads that include yeast to help the process. There are some great recipes there for all sorts of breads.
I made my starter in a glass jar that holds about a litre. I took the seal off the lid so that gasses can escape. I even named it “Sour Puss” because it is a living thing that will be with us for a long time.
My first loaf was a semi-leaven one with half wholemeal flour (the recipe). It was delicious and as I made two loaves I sliced one up and froze it for toast.
I now use a food warmer to keep my dough warm while it is rising. It is only on a low setting and is working very well.
This week I have been working on a recipe for sourdough Turkish bread. I couldn’t find a recipe that didn’t include yeast and have decided that my starter is ready to produce. So I looked at some normal recipes for it and went over the instructions for a white sourdough loaf and then came up with my own recipe. It will get tweaked over the coming weeks but it turned out lovely.
This is the recipe so far:
Sourdough Turkish Bread
200g starter (taken out of the fridge a couple of hours before)
250ml lukewarm water
1 tbsp runny honey
60ml olive oil
1 tsp salt
Place the flour in a bowl or big plastic container. Make a well in the centre and add the water, honey and oil. Tip the starter into the well and mix using your hand in the centre until a loose dough is created. Cover and rest for an hour in a warm place.
After an hour wet the dough slightly and sprinkle on the salt. Then knead until you can’t feel the salt anymore.
Leave the dough covered for 5 – 8 hours to rise to double the size. I left it all afternoon and then used a bit to make bread for dinner. The rest I put in the fridge to finish off the next morning.
Put an oiled tray into the oven on the hottest setting (mine is 250C).
I split the dough into 6 pieces and rolled them into balls. Then on a floured surface I flattened them into ovals. Brush them with egg and milk combined. Using your finger dipped in eggs make indentations across them and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
When the oven is very hot take out the tray and slide two rolls onto it. Bake for 10 minutes or so until brown. Continue with the other 4.