so you have our sourdough. here should be 50g in your container. it’s well overfermented and will be very watery and thin. i’m afraid there’s nothing we could do about that as it’s been sitting around waiting for you for a number of hours. however, all is not lost. it will be fine. you just need to get moving.
get yourself a glass/plastic/see through jar, container of some sort, a bag of bread flour (or a mix of wholegrain and white flour) and a scales. scrape your sourdough into its new home. throw in 100g flour and 100g tepid water into container, mix and leave it somewhere warm (by a heater, hot press, living room, etc). it will take anything from 7 – 12 hours to mature depending on when you picked it up from neighbourfood, how warm your home is and what temperature the water was in your mix.
You’ll know when its done by how much it has grown, a bubbly surface and it’s sour taste. If you fed it mid afternoon I’d say you could refresh it close to midnight and again in the morning. If you want to start your sourdough adventure at a later date refresh it (feed it flour and water), leave it out for an hour or so (to give the yeast a chance to start feeding) and put it into the fridge until you’re ready.
sourdough is like a tamagotchi. You have to treat it like a pet; feed it, keep it warm, respect it and it will work hard for you.
most importantly, this sourdough is very resilient. don’t worry. if it all goes pear shaped we’ll give you more. above all don’t rush it. this is all about slowing down and letting natural processes do their work.
how it works
sourdough is simply a mix of water and flour that is fermented by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and wild yeast.
enzymes in the flour convert starch into simple sugars providing food for both yeast and bacteria and allows yeast to produce carbon dioxide and ethanol. This byproduct is what makes our bread, beer, wine and all other fermented foods. In bread the CO2 gives lift. ethanol the flavour.
Bread & Roses sourdough is a mix of mostly white bread flour, with a little wholegrain flour and water.
we feed our sourdough 1:2:2 (one part sourdough, 2 parts flour and 2 parts water).
our sourdough is over 4 years old and very reliable. punctual even. left in a warm place it will need to be fed every 5 -7 hours. if kept in the fridge the yeast and bacteria will go to sleep. neither like working in the cold. if left in the fridge you only need to refresh your sourdough once a week.
to know when your yeast needs to be fed look at your sourdough: is it bubbly? is there a sour smell? has the colour changed? if you’re not sure do a float test. a float test requires you to fill a small glass with water. then get a teaspoon, wet it and carefully scoop a little sourdough out of the container and slip it into the water. if it floats there’s lots of CO2 in it. you’re ready to go. if it sinks just leave it a while.
this is not a guaranteed test as its easy to knock the gas out.
pretend you’re adding cream to the top of an Irish coffee.
so that’s how you keep your sourdough happy.
so lets start from the beginning.
so lets assume your refreshed sourdough is ready.
You now have 250g. which is plenty.
Now you have to decide when you’re going to make your bread.
Best thing to do is work backwards. with the following simple recipe its going to take a minimum 13 hours.
so here we go.
simple sourdough recipe
500g bread flour (including mix of wholegrain flours)
325 – 350g water (depends how good you are at kneading bread)
before you start you have to make your levain (your sourdough for the bread)
make your levain by taking 25g of your sourdough and adding 50g flour and 50g water. put in a warm place and let it mature for 5 – 7 hours.
put the rest of your sourdough in the fridge. this is now your mother. feed it once a week and you’ll have it for life. once a week take it out, keep 20g of it. throw the rest out. Add 40g flour and 40g water. mix. leave out for an hour or so and put back in the fridge.
- put flour and water (use tepid water. if you have thermometer 24 – 25C is perfect. if your house is cold make it warmer) in bowl. mix and leave for minimum of 30 minutes. this is called an autolyse and allows flour to hydrate and helps with gluten formation.
- add salt and levain. (don’t put together as salt is hygroscopic and competes for water which levain needs to start working properly).
- knead, put in bowl and cover.
if you have microwave you have perfect proofer. put mug of hot water in microwave and boil. once hot water creates steam stick your bowl of dough in. the 1st fermentation will take 3 hours 45 min – 4 hours.
- for first 2 hours you need to do whats called a stretch and fold ever 30 minutes. it’s basically a gentle technique to help with gluten formation. take out your dough. look at your dough. pull/stretch north edge up and into middle. then east, south and west. cover and put back into microwave. do that 4 times every 30 minutes and then leave dough to ferment for a further hour and 45 minute – 2 hours. look at your dough. there should be a few bubbles, the dough should feel supple, have grown. have vigour. if not leave longer.
- once fermented carefully scrape dough out onto surface. roughly shape into ball. cover and rest for 20 – 30 minutes.
- get yourself a banneton or failing that a colander and a tea towel. flour tea towel and put into colander (or floured banneton).
- after 30 minutes tighten up your ball (for shaping you’ll have to go look online. it’s all about practice) and place seam side up into banneton/colander. cover.
You now have a choice:
a. proof for 2 hours or so in the microwave. the poke test (see online) will give you an idea of when bread is proofed. it should have risen and be poofy.
b. proof for 45 minutes and put into plastic bag and place in fridge overnight. the next day you can bake straight from fridge just follow instructions below.
- put an iron pot – with lid on – into oven and pre-heat at full temperature/230C+
- when your bread is proofed flour top and carefully tilt it out on to a well floured board, flour the top of it and slash it with a sharp knife or blade. carefully take iron pot out of oven. take off lid. as best you can plop bread into pot, put on lid and place in oven. bake with lid on @ 230C for 20 minutes (this creates steam which allows bread to rise without crust forming due to trapped moisture in pot) and then take off lid and bake for a further 20 minutes (crust will now harden and colour).
remove pot. bread should be done. if you have a probe thermometer stick it in. internal temperature should read minimum of 94C.
- sourdough needs to sit a good while as crumb need to set.
for help check out perfectloaf.com, weekendbakery.com or freshloaf.com.
there are 1000s of videos on everything you need. baking takes practice. if you want to make good bread keep notes. touch and taste. its all about feeling.
last thing. if you have a problem email us. we’d also love to post up your pictures from this your sourdough adventure so if you could take some snaps and send them on we’d really appreciate it.