19 Mar 2012

Basic Sourdough Bread

I don’t fancy those mass breads that sell in M’sia, sorry. Though I would go for bread loaves from Village Grocer & Sun Moulin. I am so glad that not long ago I picked up some basics on bread baking. Since then I bake my own breads.

First read this basic sourdough bread from food.com by Donna M a few months ago. My mum cooked some sausages, beans  & eggs, and I needed to rush the bread out. I added 1/3 tsp of instant yeast hoping to fasten the rising (original recipe: no yeast). Also, I didn't read its directions line-by-line careful enough (hurry me), I did the punch-down 2-time-rising thingy (original recipe: 1-time rising), I used more milk & prepared in somewhat my-way.

Despite of the overlook, the bread still turned out beautifully. Me & my parents stomached the whole loaf happily! And, this somewhat modified version has become one of my keeper. Again, baked it last Sat to share with ya.

Before going to the recipe, firstly feed the sourdough starter and set aside 8 ~ 12 hours. 1 part unfed sourdough starter : 1 part flour : 1 part water (ratio 1: 1: 1) in weight. My sourdough was very very happy. See it for yourself... 8 hours sharp after feeding! So lively!

Oh they always smell like banana gum, maybe it was just me. Ok. Measure out as needed. The balance, covered & put back to the fridge for the next time.

Basic Sourdough Bread
185 g sourdough starter, refreshed
185 g bread flour
70 ~ 75 g milk
1/2 TBsp butter
1/2 TBsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 tsp instant yeast

Yield: 1 small loaf. 2~3 servings.

In a mixing bowl, use a spoon, mix bread flour with instant yeast. Mix in sugar & salt.

Add sourdough starter & milk to the flour, mix into a rough dough. Knead in butter.

Transfer the rough dough to a lightly floured surface. (As your starter might be different from mine, if too dry, add milk 1/2 TBsp in a time; if a little too wet, add flour 1 TBsp flour in a time.) Knead till smooth, elastic & satiny. (I hand kneaded for 13 minutes.)

Round the dough up & place it onto a lightly oiled bowl. Cover. Let it rise for 1 to 1.5 hour. Test by pressing a finger into the dough, the indentation mark stays, that means the dough has risen sufficiently.

Lightly punch down & press out the air. Take it out from the bowl, fold in thirds like a letter. Repeat fold in thirds. Round up to a ball.

Pat dough or use rolling pin to roll flat. Rolling it up like a swiss-roll. Pinch the seam. Tuck both ends to form a loaf. Seam faced down & place onto a pre-butter-greased small loaf pan.

Set for a second rise for 60 minutes or until double-sized in a warm place. (I placed it in a closed oven with a large bowl of hot boiling water.)

Bake at 190°C for 10 minutes & 180°C for 25~30 minutes at the lower rack. Remove from the oven, immediately rub/brush butter on top.

With buttery aroma, the bread has a crispy crust but soft inner texture. Enjoy it freshly baked from oven!

# Note: I don't warm milk (or water). I live in a tropical country. Also, I would not switch on air-cond when making bread. I go for lesser salt and sugar, you can opt for 1 TBsp sugar & 1/2 ~ 2/3 tsp salt in this recipe.

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P/S: I baked a bigger the same basic sourdough bread in a large tin loaf in another occasion. For me, a real good staple.

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