Using starter for sourdough bread
Throughout history bread baked with starter has been a traditional and respected method of baking. The starter is prepared using flour and water and it includes living bacteria which makes the dough rise and the bread gets a delicious, slightly sour taste. The healthy starter is easily refrigerated. At best the bread has a crispy crust and is soft and slightly sour inside which also makes it more preservable than yeast bread.
Starter can also easily be used in various other baking e.g. pizzas or doughnuts or even in mead. In practice it substitutes industrial yeast.
Below are the baking instructions for two breads. First time out the use of dried starter takes more time to get activated. After that it is to be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
Wishing you unhurried baking!
Prepare the leaven
- Crumble the dried starter into a Breku glass jar. Add 3/4 dl (60 g) lukewarm water and stir. Let the jar rest in room temperature for about 2 hours stirring a few times. This makes the starter soluble.
- Add 1 dl (60 g) Breku starter-activating flour and mix well.
- Let the leaven rest in room temperature for at least 4 hours. Preferably let it rest overnight. Then add 1 dl (100 g) water and 2 dl (120 g) Breku starter-activating flour and mix. Save a small amount (approx. 1 tblsp) of flour for finishing.
- Let the leaven rest in room temperature for another 4 hours. Then it is ready for baking!
Preparing dough for 2 breads
- Pour 8 dl (800 g) water and one entire package (1 kg) Breku bread flour into a bowl. Mix by hand or with a spatula. Do not knead! Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let rest in room temperature approx. one hour.
- Then add 2 dl (200 g) of the leaven and salt (20g). (Leave the rest of the leaven in the glass jar and refrigerate.) Fold the dough by lifting and stretching carefully from bottom up. Do not stretch too much or the dough will tear and get holes. Cover again with the plastic and let rest in room temperature.
- Repeat the folding and stretching from bottom to top every half hour for approx. 3-4 hours.
- This done place the covered bowl in refrigerator overnight.
Shaping the dough
- Remove the bowl from the refrigerator, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half.
- Take one half and carefully fold it from sides towards middle a few times. Then shape it to fit the pan.
- Place the other half back in the bowl and refrigerate if you do not wish to bake both breads at once. The refrigerated dough can be baked the next day or even the day after. It gets tastier the longer it is refrigerated.
- Lightly finish the shaped bread with flour and place in the pan. Cover with a plastic bag and let rest in room temperature approx. one hour to let the dough rise slightly.
Baking the bread
- Heat the oven to 240 degrees.
- Use the rest of the flour to finish the surface of the bread. Using a sharp knife make a few cuts on the surface.
- Bring a few deciliters of water to a boil. Place in an ovenproof dish at the bottom of the oven. Place the bread on the middle level of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 220 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Then turn the oven off, open the oven door ajar and let the bread rest in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool down to remove it from the pan.
The bread is best stored upside down on the cutting board and wrapped in a towel.
Preparing dough from stored starter
- Take the glass jar from the refrigerator. It includes approximately 50 g of starter.
- Add 1 dl (100 g) of lukewarm water and slightly less than 2 dl (100 g) of Breku starter-activating flour. Stir and close jar and let rest in room temperature.
- The starter is ready for use when it bubbles, has turned airy and it has risen in the jar. This takes about 2-4 hours. Please note: Do not keep in room temperature for too long. It does not preserve indefinitely.
- Now proceed to normal instructions starting with “Preparing dough for two breads”.