A good day for sourdough

      On Sunday evening I had mixed the Levain starter so it could work away on its own private nightshift and be ready to start the bread early the following morning. The first light of dawn looked full of promise as the two terriers were persuaded outside for their early morning pee and I stood watching the sky and colours develop as I drank my coffee.
      Those poplars in the background are losing their leaves too.

      The first task was to mix and disperse the overnight levain in 200g of water prior to mixing in 100g of rye flour and 900g of very strong Canadian white flour. This mix will make two loaves and the surplus levain will go towards lunch-time pancakes with smoked bacon and maple syrup.

      Please forgive the slightly blurred photograph but I think I was shaking with anticipation. I can report that the pancakes were quite excellent. All of them. As was the coffee. The simple things, you just can't beat them.

      After three hours in the proving box at 23C, 25g of kosher salt is gently mixed into the dough with three desert spoons of tepid water then it's back into the proving box yet again for another three or four hours at the same steady 23C. I grind Malden Sea Salt, but if table salt is used reduce the quantity by about half.

      Once the salt and water is mixed in the dough will slowly rise over another three hours or so gently bubbling and the point at which it is taken out and split between the two pre-heated casseroles is a healthy mix of guesswork, experience and luck.

      The dough is now ready to be roughly divided between the two casseroles that have been preheated to about 240C. The sides of the casseroles are oiled, I use groundnut oil, polenta is shaken into bottom of the casserole and the top of the dough dusted with rice flour then it's into the oven with the lid on for twenty minutes, followed by twenty more minutes with the lid off.

      Well, further alchemy has definitely taken place and all that remains now is to keep your fingers out and off the cooling loaves until the following morning when you can enjoy a couple of toasted slices with butter and whatever you fancy spread on top, and a freshly ground coffee of course.
       Simple but totally and utterly delicious. Well worth the effort believe me.


Absinthe said…
How long has your levain been on the go? I'm keen to give this a try sometime.


I keep my two starters in the fridge. If you ping me your email I'll explain in detail how I get it going. UTB, John
Brk Trt said…
John what masterpieces.
Now I have to go and find something to try and match...it's not going to happen, I could never match that bread.
Thanks Alan, I had a slice for breakfast with honey and a cup of black coffee. Unashamed luxury! John
Dickie Straker said…
Absolutely wonderful TT - I have always failed with my sourdough, but will give it another go, looks amazing! Any chance of sending me the full recipe to get the starter going? Many thanks, ttfn Dickie

I'll type it up Dickie and email it to you. I'll also work out how to send some starter to you. I use two starters one grown on Rye Flour and one on Strong Canadian. Regards, John
Bureboyblog said…
Corking bacon too. But the bread is the winner.

The bacon is fantastic. Rare breed and smoked by the butcher, absolutely fantastic. The bread is bloody good too! John
Dickie Straker said…
Thanks John, bacon looks good, I have a big liking for Norfolk Treacle bacon...amazing stuff, nothing like that down here!! TTFN Dickie