My starter has now been active since February this year, and the flavour has really developed.
It lives in the fridge, where it is fed about once a fortnight, it has a layer of water over the flour; at first I thought that this was a disaster, but now I know that it's just a sign of hibernation, so when I feed it I just stir it back in.
I was making sourdough to take back to work on Friday, so working back gave me a start date of Monday, well there’s no need to rush, and the total time spent per day is minimal, except for Thursday when it all happens.
So here’s the Timetable.
Monday, take 125g of starter out of the fridge, add 67.5g flour and 67.5g water and leave in the kitchen in a covered bowl. Total now 250g
Tuesday, stir and add 125g flour and 125g water. Cover and leave. Total now 500g
Wednesday, stir and add 250g flour and 250g water. Cover and leave. Total now 1000g
Every morning, the mixture was bubbling away and had the consistency of a thick batter; also a beautiful aroma had developed.
Thursday, today is the main day for the bread, I will be making two batches of dough each with 500g starter and 750g flour, this will give me two loaves of 1000g and some rolls.
I want a hydration of about 70%, to get a good crumb, so for dough that contains 750g of flour and 250g from the starter that equates to a total of 700g water. Now as 250g of that is from the starter, I need 450g of extra water. The total then is 1000g flour and 700g water.
If you’re using white flour the hydration could be reduced to 65%, but wholemeal flour absorbs more water.
I hope the maths is not too daunting, it's just proportions, with flour always equal to 100%.
Anyhow, for each batch of dough you need 500g starter, 750g flour, 15g salt and 450g water, this is based on the recipe from Paul Hollywood’s book, and works really well.
After I had done both batches, I left them to rise for about 5 hours, covered.
Whilst that was happening, I made a sausage casserole for supper and left it in the slow cooker.
We had gone to Totnes Good Food Sunday Market last week, totnesgoodfood.co.uk/ and had found some Pork and MARMITE sausages, they had samples which were very tasty, and as we are both in the “Love it” camp, (me more than Yvonne) we just had to get some. I chopped carrots and onions, and used the remains of Sunday’s gravy as a base in the slow cooker,
browning the sausages before chopping them up and adding.
Secret ingredient to give a bit of extra flavour was a spoonful of stewed apple stirred into the gravy.
I will do Herbed Potatoes to accompany. Sounds posh, but it's only potato chunks tossed in Olive Oil, dried mixed herbs and salt, then in the oven for about 45 minutes.
Also some runner beans from the garden.
I had a look at the dough at 12:45 and it was nearly doubled, so I shaped the loaves and put them in proving baskets, and made the rolls.
I will have a look at about 20:00 and if they are well risen will cook them tonight, if not I will do them at 6am when I get up (I’ll leave the oven to warm up whilst I walk the dogs)
At 19:00 the dough had risen and was starting to wrinkle,
so I cooked it, the rolls were done in 20 minutes, but the loaves needed longer, it took 45 minutes to get the internal temp up to 95 degrees, by which time the crusts were solid.
The aroma permeated the whole house, and we just had to have toast and marmalade.