Live sourdough: baking on a work night pt. 1

This is the first in a couple of posts going through the method I have developed for baking during the week. I’ve played around with a few different ways of manipulating the time it takes to make a loaf, in order to be able to bake regularly during the week.

Using a small amount of starter allows for a long overnight bulk ferment. In stage two there is a proof during the day in the fridge.

It’s also flexible enough to work around the hot Australian temperatures, so it will be a useful recipe during the Summer.

  
The dough after mixing, resting, and a couple of stretch/folds: 7pm.

This first post details the recipe ingredients, and the first stages of the method. Tomorrow’s posts will be about he shaping, in the morning, and the baking, after work. This recipe is for a light rye sourdough but it would work just as well with other recipes, including the bulk white sourdough and fruit sourdough. 

Weekday light rye – makes two loaves 

  • 800g strong white flour
  • 200g rye flour
  • 650g water
  • 50g white sourdough starter
  • 20g salt

Method part one – the dough

  1. 6pm: mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Rest for 15 minutes.
  2. 6:15pm: stretch/fold the dough several times. Rest for another 15 minutes and repeat. Do this another 3 times, making 5 stretch/folds in total. 
  3. 7:15pm: after the final stretch/fold, oil the bowl, form the dough into a ball, and place back into the bowl. Cover with cling film and rest at room temperature overnight.

Part two of this post will pick up where this one ends: tomorrow morning I will divide the loaf in two, shape into boules, and proof in the fridge…

The best rye sourdough recipe

This recipe is practically foolproof – a 100% rye bread, made with a rye sourdough starter, and baked to a dense, dark, and chewy loaf that tastes delicious.

rye-crumb
The crust is cracked and dark, despite the low oven temperature. The crumb is dense, moist, and chewy

This simple recipe came about as a result of my oven breaking. I’ve made rye breads before, but needed a straightforward loaf that I could bake at a reasonably low temperature, as my oven has recently taken a dive and now only reaches 180-200˚C.

rye-proofing
Two rye loaves proofing in floured bannetons

It doesn’t get much simper than this – three ingredients, no kneading, and excellent results.

100% rye sourdough

  1. Refresh the rye starter for a couple of days prior to baking. This loaf will not rise much, but the starter will add complexity to the finished flavour.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Divide in two, shape into rough rounds and place into bannetons floured with rye flour. This bread does not require kneading, or a bulk ferment. Proof the loaves at room temperature for 4-6 hours, or proof for 4 hours then refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 200˚C with a lidded cast iron pot (“Dutch Oven“) on the middle shelf. Bake loaves one at a time for 45 minutes with the lid on, then reduce the temperature to 180˚C and bake for 15 minutes with the lid off.
  4. Cool on a wire rack for two hours before slicing. Slice thinly.
rye-loaves
The two finished rye loaves

Bag end sourdough

I have mentioned the state of my pantry before, a couple of times in fact… I have a bad habit of buying a lot of different kinds of flour, grain, and other bread related ingredients and then using all but the scant end of a bag, which proceeds directly to the back of the shelf. Following on from the previous bread, which was an attempt to use up a half bag of buckwheat flour, I decided to make a “throw-everything-at-it” loaf to clear even more space. This time, I managed to clean out an assorted seven bags and jars, leaving my shelves sparkling; for a week or so at least.

This unglamorous sounding bread contains a grain soaker of bulgur wheat, rolled spelt grain and wholemeal oats. The combination could be replaced with any number of whole grains and ingredients, including rice, quinoa, amaranth, or whatever else is lying around. It all tastes good. The overnight soak is important for many of these ingredients to begin enzyme activity, increase flavour and, in some cases, remove saponins. It also allows for the grains to be used in the loaf without pre-cooking, which adds both to the nutritional content and the texture.

sourdough
The colour comes from the spelt, and texture from the additions of bulgur wheat and whole grains

The bulk of the loaf comes from a combination of spelt flour and barley bran. Again, this could be replaced in equal amounts by any combination of flours, but bear in mind that the gluten content of flours is different, as is the way in which they absorb liquids, so you may need to adjust the water content until the texture feels right. I made three small loaves – two in loaf tins and one boule – but these quantities could also be used to make two larger loaves.

Bag End Sourdough makes 3 small or 2 large loaves

  • 200g assorted whole grains (I used 50g bulgur wheat, 100g rolled spelt and 50g oats)
  • 200g water
  • 400g rye starter at 150% hydration
  • 500g water
  • 800g assorted flour (I used 100g barley bran and about 350g each of wholemeal and white spelt flour)
  • 20g salt
  1. The night before baking, combine the grains and 200g water. Refresh the starter at the same time. Leave overnight.
  2. In the morning, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Autolyse for 30 minutes.
  3. Knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and is able to stretch without tearing.
  4. Bulk ferment for 4-5 hours, until the dough has almost doubled in size.
  5. Divide and shape the dough. Divide into two or three portions, shape each into a rough ball and rest for five minutes. Shape into the final desired loaf.
  6. Rest for 1-2 hours, until visibly risen.
  7. Preheat oven to max. If using, place a Dutch oven on the middle shelf.
  8. If baking n a Dutch oven, bake at 240˚C with the lid on for 30 minutes, then 230˚C for 15 minutes with the lid off.
  9. If baking loaves, bake at 220˚C for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 180˚C and bake for a further 30 minutes.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Two small loaves shaped from the same dough and baked in 600g loaf tins
Two small loaves shaped from the same dough and baked in 600g loaf tins
boule
The crust on the boule is noticeably different to that of the loaves due to the different baking technique used

 

I have submitted this post to http://www.wildyeastblog.com/ ; let’s hope that it gets a few people interested!