For my birthday I received a voucher to an online chefy website. I was delighted and browsed and browsed for hours. Making up my mind was really tricky, until I saw it….. a proving basket.
It was beautiful, it was perfect, it had to me mine.
So I ordered it.
In preparation, I made a starter for my sourdough that I would eventually put in it. It’s super easy and you just leave it on the counter for two days.
Before I tell you about the starter, I’d like to introduce you to fresh yeast, it’s so easy to use and you can just ask the baker at your local supermarket for about 100gs at a time and you keep it in your fridge. (it does only last about two weeks)
It may be intimidating at first, but if you have ever used the instant yeast packets before, you will know, that it can be a hit and miss with them depending if they are fresh or not. Not so with fresh yeast. It works everytime.
Now for the starter:
Place 20g of fresh yeast (or 10ml of dried yeast)
in 300ml of water and mix well.
Place 250g of white bread flour into a large jar and pour in the yeast mixture.
Mix well, cover with a tea towel and leave on the counter for at least two days.
It grows almost up to the neck of the bottle.
To make the sour dough bread:
1. Place 375g of white bread flour into a large bowl, add 7,5ml salt
2. Mix well and make a “well” or a hole at the bottom of the flour.
3. Place 10g of fresh yeast (or 5ml dried yeast) in 175ml water, mix well.
4. Place 250ml of the starter into the flour and add the yeast
5. Bring flour into the wet ingredients and bring together to make a dough.
6. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. You should be
able to push your finger into the dough and it springs back quickly.
7. Place dough into a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to
prove(rise) for two hours.
8. Push the dough down in the bowl and turn out onto a work surface.
9. Work the dough into a ball, by pulling the edges of the dough under the
dough, using both hands.
10. At this point, I tossed some flour into my fancy proving basket, but you
could just toss flour onto a baking sheet.
11. I placed my dough upside down into the basket, because the bottom with
become the top of my bread. If you aren’t using a basket, just place your
dough onto your baking tray.
12. Cover the dough and leave for an hour to double in size.
13. Heat the oven to 220º C
14. Place a baking tray over the basket and turn the dough out onto the tray.
15. With a sharp knife, score the top of the loaf with three lines crossed with
three more lines.
16. I wet my hands and throw some water into the oven before I put my loaf in,
it ensures a crusty loaf. I do this again ten minutes after I’ve put the loaf in.
17. Bake for 45 mins
18. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. I love to listen to the crackling
sound of the crust splitting as it cools. It’s glorious.
19. Serve with butter.
Although you will want to gaze at your gorgeous loaf, like you would at a new born baby, resist this and carry on reading. Now is the time to feed your starter again and get it ready for another loaf.
If you took 250ml out of your starter, you need to add 125g of bread flour and 125ml of water to your jar and mix well. Allow to stand for another 24 hours before using it. Don’t leave it for more than two days and if you need to, keep it in the fridge for 5 days.
Okay, now you can marvel at how flour, water and yeast make something so remarkable, you feel like a rock star every time you pull a loaf from the oven!