Wondering what to do with a lot of active rye sourdough starter I experimented with using it in combination with Organic Three Malts & Sunflower Brown flour. The following recipe involves preparing a sourdough starter/production sourdough the day before baking the loaves. This recipe combines using natural yeast in the starter with using some active dried yeast when it comes to baking the loaves. This combination helps me produce a couple of loaves with a nice texture and flavour when there’s not enough time to work through all the usual processes needed to produce a ‘pure’ sourdough loaf.
For the starter dough/production sourdough
75-100g active rye sourdough starter
150g Organic Three Malts & Sunflower Brown Flour
100 ml warm water
For the bread dough
1 tsp caster sugar
8g dried active yeast.
240g warm water
600-650 Organic Three Malts & Sunflower Brown Flour
14g fennel seeds
1 tbsp Olive oil
Stage 1 For the starter/production sourdough put 70 to 100g of active rye sourdough starter in the mixing bowl. Then add 150 Organic Three Malts & Sunflower Brown flour and use 110g warm water to mix everything together. Cover the bowl with cling film (or a stretchy plastic cover) and then leave in a warm place for 24 hours, or until the live yeasty mix is visible active.
Stage 2 (24 hours later)
1. Mix the sugar with 240g warm water in a small or medium-sized bowl. When the sugar is fully dissolved add the active dried yeast, and leave for a few minutes until it bubbles up, and demonstrates that it’s alive.
2. While the yeast is flexing its muscles, put 600 to 650 g of Organic Three Malts & Sunflower Brown flour in the mixing bowl. Add the salt and some fennel seeds (if you’d like another flavour in the bread), and mix together. Then add and stir in the active sourdough starter/production sourdough prepared the previous day. Add a tablespoon of olive oil which will help hold the mix together. Then add in the 240g of yeasty water. If the mix is too dry it may help to add a little extra water.
3. For mixing or kneading, I tend to use the mixer and let the dough hook work on the dough for a few minutes before turning it out and working it by hand on a baking board for another minute or two. At that stage I find it helpful to put some oil on my hands and on the baking board, which helps to hold things together.
4. When you’ve finished kneading the dough, shape it into a ball and put it in a larger, oiled bowl, cover it with cling film (or a stretchy plastic cover), and leave to rise for about an hour.
5. Grease two large loaf tins.
6. After the dough has risen, turn it out onto an oiled baking board and gently flatten it into a circle. Then divide the dough in two and shape into two loaves and put into the loaf tins.
7. Then cover the loaves inside a plastic bag and allow them to rise again for about 30 minutes.
8. While the loaves are rising, pre-heat the oven to 220C.
9. A few minutes before you are ready to put the loaves in the oven spray some cold water into the oven to begin to create a moister atmosphere in the oven.
10. Uncover the risen loaves and use a sharp knife to a cut a few shallow diagonal slits which will allow the bread to rise during the first ten minutes in the oven. Lightly spray a little cold water over the loaves before putting them in the oven
11. Place the loaves in the pre-heated oven. At this point you may like to spray a little more cold water into the oven to create a bit of steam which can help to keep the crust flexible in the early stages of cooking.
12. Bake the loaves for 10 minutes at 220C and then turn the heat down to 180C and continue baking for a further 15 to 20 minutes (see what works best in your oven). If the bread’s ready, the base of the loaves should sound hollow when tapped.
13. If the loaves still feel a bit soft, then put them back in the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes. This will help to complete the bake and will probably help create a good crust.
14. Leave the finished loaves on a wire rack to cool for at an hour or two before cutting your first slices of an enjoyable loaf.
Added by: Peter Stevenson
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