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Thursday, January 12, 2017

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sourdough pizza with homemade kefir farmhouse cheese

My No-Knead Sourdough Bread recipe


I have made sourdough bread on and off over the years but recently I have found a method that is easy, quick and tastes delicious. Everyone in our family enjoys it which hasn't always been the case for my bread. Maybe that's because we only have bread twice a week now, since cutting down on gluten, so they appreciate it more. I like to think its because I've found the perfect recipe and method for us! It makes a medium-sized dense, chewy loaf with a nice crust. Some sourdough connoisseurs might scoff at the simplicity of a no-knead sourdough baked in a tin, but it is a nice compromise for busy people! When using sourdough cultures, long kneading times are not necessary as the cultures in the sourdough and the long soaking time act on the gluten. And no messy flour-covered benches to clean up!  So I thought I'd share it here. It's perfect for anyone who wants a long-soaked no-knead homemade sourdough without too much effort or fuss.

If you haven't tried sourdough bread before or you are fairly new to it, it may take a few attempts to get it the way you like it. Sourdough baking requires forward planning, a bit of intuition and observation, and adjustments need to be made accordingly. Every sourdough culture is different, variable and doesn't perform exactly the same each time. If you keep your sourdough fed and happy you will find a good rhythm with the process and be less likely to encounter problems. It's not like the generic bread yeast, which is a predictable mono-culture of fast-acting yeast cultured in a laboratory. Sourdough is made of wild yeasts and bacteria which are beneficial to our health and when allowed to ferment the bread flour, these bacteria and yeasts will break down phytates in the grains, produce enzymes which partially break down the gluten making it more digestible and delicious. These enzymes also make many nutrients more available, especially B vitamins. For more info on this see here http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/be-kind-to-your-grains-and-your-grains-will-be-kind-to-you/  Many people who can't tolerate normal bread can eat properly-made sourdough without any problems. I'm one of those people!

Ingredients

1 cup active sourdough starter (see recipe below)
2 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 1/2 cups spelt flour and 1 cup buckwheat flour, organic)
1 1/4 cups non-chlorinated water
1 tsp natural salt (non-iodised)
Optional- 1/4 cup each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds


Method

Put all ingredients into a mixer with a dough attachment. Mix for 2-5 mins. If you don't have a dough attachment is not necessary since this is quite a wet mixture, a normal mixing attachment will do fine. If you don't have a stand mixer just mix by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon for 2-5 mins. Mixture should be quite wet but not too runny. Add more water or flour if needed. Let stand, covered for 6-12 hours for the first rise. Mix again briefly for 2 mins then pour (yes, pour!) into an oiled or buttered loaf pan. Smooth the top and lightly oil or butter the top to prevent drying. Cover with a cloth. Let rise for another 4 hours or until dough has doubled in size, but before it starts to collapse (over-proof). Rising time depends on how active your sourdough is and the room temperature. In summer this happens quicker (about 3-4 hours), in winter this takes longer and you may need to place in a slightly warm oven to rise. (See note) Cook in a 200 degree Celsius oven for 10 mins then reduce temp to 180 degrees Celsius for 25 mins. Turn out onto cooling rack immediately and allow to cool. Don't forget to eat it with lots of butter!

Variation 1- Fruit Bread- Add to mixture:
1/2 to 1 cup sultanas, or any combination of dried fruit you like such as chopped dates or figs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs honey

Variation 2- Pizza Crust
Omit the seeds, use all spelt flour, add 2tbs olive oil to mixture. Proceed with the first rise, knock down, then press out thinly onto oiled pizza trays with oiled hands. This recipe will make 2 medium pizza crusts. Top with pizza toppings, bake in a hot oven for 10-15mins.
  

Note: At any stage if you need to slow down the rise, either the first or second, the dough can be put into the fridge, covered. I usually do a double batch each time, cook one loaf and put one tin in the fridge after the second rise for cooking at a later time. Just take it out when you are ready and allow to rise for an hour or 2 then cook as usual. The longer it sits in the fridge or on the bench the more sour it will become.

If you find the taste too sour for your liking, (or you want bread sooner!) reduce the fermenting time, or skip the first rise all together and just put straight into the pan 6-8 hours to rise and then cook. However, the longer it ferments, the less phytates will be present, and the more easily digestible the bread will be.

Sourdough Starter


This will take about a week to be ready to use in bread baking. Make sure you use non-chlorinated water and unbleached flour, preferably organic. By far, the best sourdough I have ever had has been made with rye flour. So use that if you can. The sultanas help to contribute yeasts to the sourdough and makes it active more quickly. It can be made with out them however since these cultures should be present on the flour and in the air too.

1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup non-chlorinated water
1 tsp organic sun-dried sultanas

Method

Mix everything in a jar and cover with a cloth and rubber band to keep flies out. Leave it on your bench for about a week. Feed daily by stirring in 2 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp water. On the third day, strain or scoop out the sultanas. Mixture should become bubbly around the 3rd day and smell yeasty and fruity. By the end of the week it should bubble up and double in size after being fed. It is then ready to use in bread-making. Feed your starter 6-12 hours before you plan to make bread so it is active and you have enough starter to use in your bread plus some left over. For this recipe will need to feed it about 1 cup each of flour and water. Always be sure to save a small amount of starter to continue feeding for your next batch of bread! You should save at least 1/4 cup. Then feed your starter every day just 2 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp water to keep it active. In cold temperatures you might get away with feeding it every 2nd day.

If you ever need a break from making bread, feed it and keep it in the fridge. Be sure to feed it weekly. Sometimes it becomes strong smelling if it hasn't been fed for a while or if the weather is too hot. Discard half and feed it well for a few days and it should be smelling nice again. Keep it in fridge if the weather is too hot and it might be happier, but it will be slower and less active. If it doesn't recover it's probably best to throw it out and start again.

I hope you enjoy eating this bread as much as we do.