Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sour Dough Starter

Why did I decide to start a sour dough? I've never even tasted one and I have no idea what's involved! Of course, that's why I have to try it :) I guess it was partially that, and also I loved Paul Hollywood's description of the sour dough puppies, and sour dough hotels to keep your little puppies in. Hmm....he makes it look so much quicker and easier on the bread show though - well - it's easy I'll give it that - but it's a slow slow process. I feel like I've been making this for an eternity. Which, isn't too far from the trust. Looking back through pictures I started the starter on the 11th Feb.  Here's the story of the starter so far.... (and no, it's still not finished!)

I was given the Paul Hollywood Bread book as a Christmas present, as bread was always something I wanted to make more of (and I loved his show), but I just didn't know where to start. The book is great, and I wanted to tackle something a bit different and thought that the sour dough would be an interesting challenge. So I stocked myself up on grapes, strong white flour, and kilner jar and got going! The initial starter really doesn't take long so I made it all up, and then tried to find somewhere warm to leave it to grow. My kitchen it lovely and warm when I'm baking, but when I'm not in there, or the heating isn't on, it can get a bit chilly. So I left the jar on the bookcase next to the radiator, but tucked up in a towel, thinking I'd be back in a couple of days to check on it's progress.

I would saw I was very dedicated to start with, but then one thing after another cropped up, and I forgot about the poor little starter. When I next came back to it, it was all separated and I was a bit worried that I'd killed the poor thing off.  Thankfully I spotted that Deborah Manger from 2013 bake-off was talking about sour dough on twitter, so I posed a quick question and she sorted me out.  Pour off the liquid layer, and then feed it up and leave it for another few days. That was back on the 22nd Feb, so I fed stirred, left, fed, stirred left for another week and then finally today I decided to actually crack on an make the starter into something a bit more useful than a jar on my bookcase!

Now, I know how important it is to read instructions all the way through, and I know that you need to plan ahead of time with baking - not just wing it (ahem), so I just read the first page of Paul's instructions this morning and then left the dough to rise for 5 hours.  Off I tootled to bellringing this morning, met a friend for lunch and then went to see Cinderella at the cinema....all good...I'll be able to bake the dough when I get home and have it for me tea, yay how organised!

NO! Turning the page, I then realise I have to knock back (that's fine) and knead the dough again. This was lovely actually, it's a really nice dough to work with, so if it does finally taste nice, I'll try this again - just with a tad more planning! :)  So the next step is to put a combination of flour and semolina onto the dough, and leave it to rise for a further 4-8 hours. Ahh, by now it's already 5pm. I don't think I want to be baking bread at that time of night : Ho hum.  Also, it appears I don't have semolina in my cupboard (not that I've ever bought it in my life, but still...stranger things have happened - they actually haven't - but that doesn't sound so good). So it's Sunday, after 4pm, there's only one shop near by open, and that the local garage. Last time I went there, they didn't even have white bread flour (although, oddly they had wholemeal bread flour and arrowroot??), but no, i didn't spot any semolina. To the internets - what can I replace semolina with - and the general consensus was that I could possibly get away with just flour! So bread happily knocked back, floured and back into the bowl.

I've pretty much decided that it's not going to get baked up this evening, so we'll be back tomorrow for a further check in and see if I finally get to taste sour dough, and if 24 hours of rising is actually OK for it!  Is there anyone brave enough to try??? :)

Thank you to the twitterers out there also making sour dough today, having the twitter support there as you bake is as good as having a giggle with friends as you bake. So thanks should go out to:

This is the dough as it goes in for it's first prove....shiny!!

1 comment:

  1. I did this once a few years ago (Pippa started it off for me), but we didn't look after it and it 'died'... :(
    Thanks for your comment today - I left a reply on my blog :)
    Have you recovered from Bastille yet?? xx