My Prize Winning Sourdough Bread

Brown Sourdough Prize Winner

Brown Sourdough Prize Winner

Just out of the oven
Just out of the oven

Bread with my prize- Paul Hollywood's 'How to Bake' Bread with my prize- Paul Hollywood’s ‘How to Bake’

For the last two weeks I have been practicing making the best Sourdough bread I could bake, preparing for the Marriage’s Flour,Bread Baking Competition (http://www.marriagesmillers.co.uk), at the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival; and dear followers I won first prize!

What I was trying to create was a loaf that looked beautiful, had a strong great sour taste, a soft, light and slightly chewy crumb and  a good crunchy crust.  I really enjoyed experimenting over the last couple of weeks.  I drew inspiration from my old trusty ‘Bread Baker’s Apprentice’, by Peter Reinhart ( http://www.thefreshloaf.com/bookreviews/bba)  and from a recipe I learned when I did the E5 Bakehouse baking course last year. Their bakery and coffee shop is a must if you are ever in London, their bread is tremendous and it’s in a very cool part of East London (see their beautiful website: http://e5bakehouse.com). I knew that in order to get a good strong sour taste I was going to have to build up the dough in stages and retard (slow down) the fermentation by putting it in the fridge.

I had a lovely time at the Food and Drink Festival- they even had a ‘Bread Zone’ and I went to hear a presentation from the Real Bread Campaign (http://www.sustainweb.org/realbread/). I  visited the very stylish Bread Van from the Pump Street Bakery, based in Orford. In quiet moments I sometimes have fantasies of owning my own bakery- and if I did, my bakery would be just like this one. Excellent bread, beautifully set out, in a lovely location, with a community spirit (http://www.pumpstreetbakery.com)

Pump Street Bakery Bread Van

Pump Street Bakery Bread Van

Delicious Bread on the Van

Delicious Bread on the Van

Festival SceneFestival Scene

View of the festival from the river

View of the festival from the river

So below is my recipe- do have a go and let me know how you get on. If you have any problems,  send me a comment and I’ll try and help.

A few days before you are going to bake, refresh your sourdough. If you’ve left it all folorn in the fridge for a couple of weeks, then you’ll need to refresh it 3 or 4  times (see previous blog on refreshing you starter), until it is lively and bubbly. Each time you refresh it you want it to be the consistency of a wet but fairly solid dough, as opposed to a liquid starter with the consistency of porridge. This way you are encouraging the development of the type of bacteria that create the sour flavour.

Creating your active leaven

  •  First thing in the morning mix together:

1 tablespoon of active starter

3/4 cup water (tap water will do, unless your water is very chlorinated)

1 cup brown bread flour

1 cup white bread flour

  • Leave it all day, covered, at room temperature (very convenient if you have to go to work)

Making your dough

  • Mix together:

all the leaven from the above step with 1/2 cup of water

then add I cup white flour with 1 1/4 tsp salt mixed in

  • Leave covered for 1/2 hour
  • Pull up from the bottom with a spoon and fold over 3 times (see previous blog for description of how to fold)
  • Fold every half hour for the next 2 1/2 hours

Shaping your dough (this is just the same as you would do it for the Tartine method in previous blog,  but without the bench rest)

  • Turn it out on to a floured surface and stretch the dough to the right and then fold it back over itself and then do the same to the left and then from the upper edge and the lower edge, until you have an envelope shaped parcel of dough
  • Flip it over  so that the smooth side is on the top and the folded seams are on the bottom.
  • Move your hands slowly pulling the dough gently downwards to create some tension over the top surface of the dough, whilst you are shaping it into a round ball. Pinch it at the bottom along the newly created seam so that during baking it won’t pull apart. Make sure it’s well floured.
  •  Get your banneton basket  and flour it inside and then put the dough in seam side up and smooth side down (if you don’t have a banneton yet then use a floured tea towel as in my previous recipes)
  • Now cover it and put it in the fridge over night

Getting your dough ready to bake 

  • Next morning, take the basket with the dough in it out of the fridge and leave it for  1 1/2 hours to come to room temperature
  • Put the oven on to 450 degrees C. with a Le Crueset or other covered casserole dish inside
  • Carefully transfer the  dough from the basket to the hot casserole (it may stick a little to the basket, but persevere and it will come out)  and slash with a lame or sharp knife
  • Bake for half an
  • Take the lid off and bake for another 15 minutes- and viola, the most fabulous sourdough loaf will be ready to cool on wire wrack, while you fend off the hungry hoards who don’t want to wait another second to try some!
Try dipping it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Try dipping it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar             

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/.

 

 

 

 

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4 responses to “My Prize Winning Sourdough Bread”

  1. Jane Ginsborg says :

    Huge congratulations and thoroughly well deserved! Lots of love, Jane

  2. saucygander says :

    Congratulations, fabulous looking sourdough!

  3. lisathorpeartist says :

    Fantastic, congrats, I would love a taste!

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