Basic Sourdough Boules

My technique is improving bit by bit! This is a fairly low hydration bread at just under 70%, so it’s moderately easy to work with the dough.

Morning – Make Levain

Mix:
40g bread flour
40g whole wheat flour
81g water
8g flour

Leave the levain at room temp for about 10 hours OR just use 169g of active starter near top of cycle

Early Evening – Start Dough

Mix to autolyse:
766g bread flour
161g whole wheat flour
635g water 
169g levain (see above)

Then cover and set aside.

20-30 minutes later mix in:
19g salt
< 50g water

Don’t add more water than it can take. You aren’t looking for a tight dough at this point, but you don’t want soup.  Do a few folds but don’t knead vigorously.

Evening – Bulk Fermentation

Cover and allow to rest in a warm location for 3.5 hours. Do a stretch and fold at 30 minutes and at 1 hour. Then allow to rest for the remaining 2.5 hours.

Before Bed – Divide and Shape

Dump dough onto counter. Divide bread in half and loosely shape 2 rounds. A bench knife and wet hand will help. Try not to add flour since the bread is already at a lower hydration.

Allow to rest uncovered on the counter for 30 minutes.

Gently flour the top of the round – preferably with rice flour – and then flip over. Do an envelope fold. Flip it over and drag and seal the dough, working to create tension.

Place top-down in a well-floured (preferably with rice flour, but all purpose is ok) banneton or bowl lined with a floured cloth. You can see below that there are seams on the bottom. It doesn’t matter! There are also some bubbles from the sourdough fermentation. Some bakers pop those so it’s smoother. I didn’t.

Overnight – Proof

Cover the baskets well with room to rise and put them in the fridge until some time the next day. It can be anywhere from 12 hours to 36!

Morning – Bake

Put rack near the bottom of oven and place your Dutch oven inside, open (both lid and pan). Preheat to 450*

Take 1 basket out. Using parchment paper and a cutting board or pizza peel, flip a dough out of the basket. Score the bread and load it into the Dutch oven (or load and score if you prefer). 

Bake for 20 minutes covered. Then remove lid and bake another 30-35 (it should be nicely browned and the internal temp around ~207*.

Remove to a cooking rack and reheat the dutch oven to start the next loaf.

Ideally, allow loaves to cool for a couple of hours before slicing. It’s not easy to do, but you will be rewarded!

Sourdough Starter

As you all know, I’m raising a sourdough starter, or – as someone said on Facebook – a Tomogotchi for middle aged women. Her name is Lilith, aka Lil’ Yeasty.

If you are interested in making your own, there are many many sites that will advise you. But, if you are here and I am here, well, here you go.

What you’ll need:

Rye or whole wheat flour
All purpose flour
Non-chlorinated water
2-3 large-mouthed glass containers (.75 liter or larger – I like the ones by Weck)
Something to stir with that is not metal
A kitchen scale
A rubber band or dry erase marker

What you’ll do:

Day 1, Morning – Mix 100g of rye flour (or wheat flour – I’m going to use rye in these instructions as that is my favorite, but you can use either one) and 125g of room-temp or slightly warmer water in your jar. Just stir until the flour is combined. Let it rest somewhere warm. On top of the fridge works if you have that. I don’t. My habit is to run the microwave empty for 3 minutes, then put the jar inside on top of a potholder. Then I do that again a couple of times during the day. *You may actually find it bubbles over this day. I know! Weird, right? If you want you can put a pie plate under to catch that!

Day 2, Morning – Take a clean jar. Add 75g of the fermenting starter mix you made on day 1 to the jar (this will be much easier if your scale with tare, because you can then put an empty jar on, tare to 0 and then add your mix). Add 50g of rye flour, 50g of all-purpose flour, and 115g of water and mix. Discard the leftover from day 1 and wash that jar.

Day 3, Morning – Take your clean jar, tare, and add 75g of the starter mix, 50g of rye, 50g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Discard the leftover from day 2 and wash that jar.

Day 4, Morning – Take your clean jar, tare, and add 75g of the starter mix, 50g of rye, 50g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Discard the leftover from day 3 and wash that jar.

Day 4, Evening (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 50g of rye, 50g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Discard the leftover or you can start saving it in the fridge at this point for nice things like griddle cakes!

Day 5, Morning (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge!

Day 5, Evening (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge. You can swap out to a clean jar whenever you feel like it.

Day 6, Morning (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge or make some crackers!

Day 6, Evening (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge.

At this point, you might be seeing your starter double in volume in between feedings. Yay! It’s probably strong enough to move on to some recipes that don’t require a lot of rise, but do need some. If not, don’t worry, just keep going. You may want to pare your rye back a bit.

You may also want to reduce the water a bit. This is a 100% starter, because the weight of the water is = to the flour. I typically do 10-15g of rye, 85-90g of all-purpose, and 100g of water. Since many recipes call for a 100% starter or 100% levain, it just makes it easier.

Once your starter is going well, rising and falling predictably, you can refrigerate it when you aren’t actively using it. Feed it once a week and let it sit out for a couple of hours. When you are about ready to bake, take it out and feed it for two days and it should be good to go.

Happy fermenting!







Vegan Sourdough Discard Cheezy Crackers

When you babysit a sourdough starter, there is inevitable discard to use up. I’ve used it for flatbreads, muffins, pancakes, griddle cakes, cake, coffee cake (I sense a theme). Today, I wanted to make something savory, so it was these easy-faux-cheezy crackers

Ingredients

1 cups Sourdough discard, fresh or from the fridge
¼ cup melted vegan butter
Herbs/seasoning (today I used fresh rosemary and dried oregano)
Nutritional yeast
Sea salt

Process

Preheat oven to 350* Mix all ingredients except salt. Place a parchment paper on a baking sheet or pan and spread the mix over the parchment, getting it nice and thin! Then sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 10 minutes. Optionally, at that point you can take it out and score the crackers if you want them to be pretty and square. Or you can just break them up later. Bake for another 30-40 minutes until your desired level of crispiness.

Allow to *fully* cool before you put them away so they don’t get soggy.