a how to ed for making bread using the ancient leaven system
Okay so this will be my first ever editorial,
I noticed recently a chicken recipe on here that seemed to go down well, and a bread recipe on the other site.
That bread recipe sucked ass, I'm going to give you my bread recipe.
This is the bread I make each and every day, its the oldest recipe for leavened bread, also known as sourdough.
First thing we need to make before anything else is a starter.
So called I suppose because it “starts” the bread.
Starters are awesome (I think), they are really fucking simple and complex at the same time, if you are successful in creating a starter then you have essentially just created life!!
a well cared for starter can last for years, a lifetime, indefinitely really, as long as its fed and looked after.
So to make the starter.. there's an easy way and a more difficult way, the easy way is boring.
So we are going to go the slightly more difficult but immensely more satisfying route.
Firstly we need a container, an old coffee jar or something , just make sure its totally clean and pop a couple of holes in the lid, as this shit does need to breathe.
Secondly we need flour, white bread flour will be fine.
and we need grapes, about 5 – 10 red grapes will do.
To start off all we need to do is take the grapes( rinsed clean under cold water), put them in the jar or whatever container your using, crush them up well with the back of a fork.
Next add some flour, if you want to be a fag about it you could weigh the grapes and flour. Slightly less flour than grape will be ok.
But weighing isn't necessary so just spoon some flour into the crushed grape mix, and mix it well to create a wet paste.
This wet paste needs somewhere nice to live and multiply.
Somewhere warm will be good, my airing cupboard sits at about 35 degrees Celsius and this is the perfect temp for the starter, any higher than 40 will kill it.
So keep this paste at 35 ish if you can, if you cant don't worry, it will work at a lower temp, but it will be slower.
So now we have our starter in a warm place, we just play the waiting game.
It may take as little as a day to ferment, it might take 4 or 5, just check on it each day and stir it up occasional. Just make sure everything you use is clean to the point of being sterile.
I use throw away plastic spoons for this.
After some time, when the starter is bubbling
we come to the next stage.
You need to remove the grapes from the starter.
To do this just stir some cold water into the paste, about as much water as there is paste, then pass it through a sieve strain out and chuck the grapes.
And put the starter back into the container.
The next stage is feeding the starter. This bitch will want fed a lot. Once or twice a day if you keep her warm.
Most bakers when feeding the starter, firstly throw away half of it, then mix in some water, then flour
again measurements are for pussies, just use enough water to make it loose.
Then spoon in some flour to make a paste. (the thicker the paste the slower it grows)
Mix it a little but don't worry about lumps as the yeasts will eat them.
Ideally you want to feed this bitch using the throw half and put half back method for a couple of days.
If it stinks of good cheer and is bubbling away each time you feed it then its probably ready.
You have just created life. And without all the paternity suit headaches that shit usually brings.
So onto making bread, this is easy, really easy, and if you get the rhythm for it you can have fresh bread each and every day from about 10 minutes of your time.
Firstly take your starter, put it in a nice big bowl. And mix it with some cold or tepid water, once mixed your starter is now called sponge
p.s. Notice there's only a couple of t-spoons full of starter, you don't need much and ideally shouldn't have more than this.
make sure its mixed well.
Next add the flour, again you don't want it too thick, but not too thin either
stir it a little, cover it and let the starter ferment the whole lot, this might take a few hours, again when the whole mix smells ripe and is bubbling your on to the next stage.
At this point you want to take a spoonful of this mix, this spoonful is the starter for the next days bread,
again you want to put this spoonful of starter into a clean container and feed it with a little water and flour
its like groundhog day really.
You can keep the reserved starter in your fridge at this point, there's no need to keep it warm unless your using it everyday, its also an idea to make this reserved starter pretty thick as this will retard the growth of the yeasts and bacteria therefore requiring feeding only once a week or fortnight.
This was supposed to be a short editorial....
next step- Making the bread.
You should now have a nice bubbly fermenting mix, to this mix you will want to add sugar, salt, oil and more flour.
If your brave enough then taste a little of the fermenting sponge, is it sweet enough, does it need more salt? Its all pretty simple really.
For 1 loaf I might use 2 or 3 t-spoonfuls of sugar, a good glug of olive oil and a few pinches of salt.
Mix that all thoroughly then add enough flour to bring it together into a nice dough. Knead the dough a little, try and get it lump free.
Then leave the dough to prove until it doubles in size , the longer the better. 8 – 10 hours is good.
Once its doubled, spoon it out onto a floured surface and start to knead it a little bit,
with kneading your basically trying to improve the texture of your finished loaf by removing any air pockets in the dough also increasing and strengthening the gluten in the bread. Its all a bit technical so don't worry about it, just knead it for 2 or 3 mins and sling it into a bread tin.
Leave the bread tin in a cold oven overnight, and in the morning turn the oven to 200c, no need for preheating. Set the timer on 20 mins or so, maybe a bit longer depending on the size of the loaf and the power of your oven, bear in mind that overcooked bread is immensely preferable to undercooked.
et voilà that's it You just made bread.
I know this recipe seems extremely convoluted and there are better descriptions of all these processes available online, I just think that making bread from scratch is something pretty special.
I mean some people pray to god for there daily bread.
also there were pics to go along with this, documenting all the separate stages, but i couldn't figure out how to put them on
if i can work that out and anyone finds this interesting then I'll post another recipe