So this post is rather out of place here what with the majority of my publishings being photography or theology related. Well there was that one hugelkultur one too I suppose. Oh and the tortillas that nearly killed me. My blog has definitely become a rather mishmash of topics indeed! I would definitely make the case that my photography, theology, permaculture and food interest is actually intricately connected but that is another post for another time. On to sourdough! Quick caveat: I am no chef, no foodie, no expert in this field. This post is simply documenting my successful experience in baking sourdough bread with no waste, zero (or nearly zero) discarded starter.
Recipe and starter were acquired from Cultures for Health, available for purchase at Homesteader Health in Grande Prairie.
The following recipe is the Basic Sourdough Bread recipe found on the Cultures for Health website. For my method I double this recipe to make three loaves since I find one recipe too much for a single loaf. I also pre soak and replace some of the unbleached flour with my own home ground red spring wheat.
- 2⅓ cups fresh sourdough starter
- 3⅓ cup flour
- 1-1½ cup water
- Scant tablespoon salt
Day 1 Morning:
Measure 40 grams of sourdough starter from fridge into a bowl. Add 40 grams of water and 40 grams of unbleached flour. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter.
Day 1 Evening:
Sourdough starter now weighs 120 grams. Add an additional 120 grams of water and 120 grams of unbleached flour. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and return to counter.
If pre-soaking whole wheat, mix together 5-6 cups whole wheat flour with liquid amount called for in the recipe, I usually use the whole 3 cups. (For those concerned about phytates, replace some of the liquid with an acid medium such as yogurt or buttermilk. For this batch, I did add a couple Tbsp of yogurt.)
Day 2 Morning:
Sourdough starter now weighs 360 grams. Add an additional 360 grams of water and 360 grams of unbleached flour. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and return to counter until bubbly and active, usually 1 or 2 hours. Make sure your bowl is big enough! There is now enough starter to mix a double batch of the above recipe. Reserve the remaining starter, there should be at least 40 grams to start another batch, and return it to the refrigerator.
Mix together starter, soaked whole wheat and salt. Add enough unbleached flour to form a tacky dough, I added approximately 3 cups to this batch. It should clean the sides of the mixing bowl. Knead for 6-10 minutes, the following photos show the difference between freshly mixed dough and the dough that has been kneaded.
Form a boule and place in a lightly oiled bowl to rise. Cover with plastic wrap. At this point I usually place it in the fridge for cold fermentation overnight however that step can be skipped and the bread baked on the same day. Just allow to rise to 1.5 x its volume then form loaves.
Remove dough from fridge, allow at least 1 hour to remove the chill. Divide dough into three boules and form loaves. I have two bannetons or proofing baskets so I use those for two loaves and bake one as a free form. Be sure to always cover with plastic wrap, it’s incredible how quickly it can dry out. Allow loaves to rise to 1.5x original volume.
Preheat oven to 400˚F, use a baking stone if you have one. Flip loaves onto parchment paper on a pizza peel, score with a knife and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Check and rotate, bake an additional 10-15 minutes. If the loaf does not sound hollow when tapped, return for an additional ten minutes.
Once baking is complete remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool fully before slicing, that is only if you can handle waiting that long.
***Warning*** Allowing children to slice this bread may cause tears and frustration and butchered slices! Pre slicing is recommended.