My first sourdough bread

Preparing the pre-doughs

To make the sourdough loaf I will use a soaker and the mother I prepared earlier. The rest of the mother can go in the fridge for later experiments.

I’m using a stoneground wholemeal flour from Little Salkeld Mill. It’s an English Wholewheat flour, and as such I’m reliably informed that it won’t soak up as much water as a high-protein flour, such as those used in USA and Canada. For this reason I’m adjusting the hydration of the flour from the quantities given in Peter’s book, as has been suggested on this really useful thread in which I asked about hydration ratios.

From past experimentation, I reckon to be aiming for a final hydration of 65%, and see how that goes.Given that I’m making equal weights of soaker and mother starter, and the mother is already at 70%, I’m going to make the soaker at 60% so they both average out to 65%. I hope!

So, mother’s in the fridge, soaker’s, well, soaking. I’ll leave them both overnight and make the bread up tomorrow morning.

Making the bread

Well, work intervened so the pre-doughs sat in the fridge for two days until I could finish the loaf off. Even reducing the hydration to an average of 65% has still made a fairly sticky dough; I’ll maybe try for 60% next time. Anyway, I followed the recipe and baked it off in my cast-iron pot.

Sourdough bread
Sourdough bread, or what’s left of it, anyway

The final loaf was delicious. Even Julie, who is not known as an afficionado of bread, said it was really nice. It has a sharp, tangy flavour on first bite, which then mellows out in the mouth leaving a lovely warm flavour, which lasted for about 30 minutes after eating. Very happy with the taste. The ‘oven spring’ left a lot to be desired. I had hoped to be able to get a better shaped loaf, but maybe that’s down to hydration. I’ll try to correct that on my next batch. Sorry I never got to photograph the finished loaf; we ate most of it before I could get my camera out. That’s home-made bread for you!

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