Wednesday, 2 April 2014

2 Day Retarded Sourdough

I have been baking and enjoying my basic recipe for white sourdough for a long time now, I have tweaked it from time to time, taken a break while I baked sourdough with gruel, sourdough with beer and yet I always come back to my basic recipe. I didn't think it could be improved and yet as often happens, circumstances brought about an opportunity to alter my process and the result is something I shall always do from now on. I am very good at putting things in my freezer, imagine my joy when I realised I actually had a second freezer in the cellar I had forgotten about. Sadly I am extremely poor at taking anything back out of the freezer(s), consequently both freezers are now  full. I have been baking a batch of bread on average about once a week, freezing one loaf and eating the other, having no room for the second loaf I decided to leave half the dough in the fridge in a plastic container for a couple of days to await baking. The result is the dough retarded for a couple of days develops an even greater depth of flavour along with a slightly deeper colour, producing a loaf with a nice open texture and a great crust. I did add a tablespoon of molasses to the original dough thinking it might just need a little extra food whilst in hibernation in the fridge.

For this bread you will need; click here for the recipe plus a tablespoon of molasses added at the main dough mixing stage. At the point where the dough is ready to be shaped into loaves, having been stretched and folded 3 or 4 times, place all or half of it into the fridge in a large, lidded plastic box (the dough does continue to grow a little) and keep for 2 days before baking. I found shaping the cold dough from the fridge and placing it into a well floured banneton before going to bed, meant that the following morning, about 8 hours later, the loaf was ready to bake, having returned to room temperature and almost doubled in size. I would say my kitchen is still on the cool side and you would have to adjust how long you leave the shaped loaf before baking according to the ambient temperature. Since baking with wild yeast is always a case of observing and moving on to the next stage when the time is right, this shouldn't really be an issue.

I must empty the freezers!