First the recipe:
1/2 cup sourdough starter
2 to 2.5 cups flour
3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Sugar
I've resurrected my sourdough routine! My last sourdough started died a quick death in the heat of May in the Bahamas last year, and oddly enough, the whole time we were in northern latitudes and out of the heat (I mean really out of it, as it was really cold), I didn't make a new one! I'm kind of disappointed in myself that I didn't keep it up, but we were obviously busy with other things.
Last week I was craving a good loaf of bread. Maybe the past four months in the Bahamas where you can only get really sweet white bread spurred that craving? I generally do not buy bread anywhere we are because it's something that I can make myself and I'd rather spend the money on a really good cheese. Now that we're sitting still for a few weeks, I decided sourdough would be my little addition to the kitchen routine. This time, I have a good strategy to battle the heat.
If you've never made sourdough, it's easy to be put off by the amount of work it appears to be. Honestly, it's not that much work! I promise.
First the starter:
I used 1 cup of flour (organic, unbleached, unenriched white flour), 1/2 cup warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast. Some people don't use yeast in their starter which is fine, you just have to wait a few more days for the yeast to culture, and I couldn't wait! I put that in a quart mason jar and cover it with a tea towel. Every day the started needs to be halved (remove half of the starter to use), and fed with 1/2 cup flour and a bit of water to make it the same wet, pancake batter consistency.
I recommend starting the culture in the morning so it can grow over the day. In the evening, I put mine in the fridge as the temperature rarely drops below 75 here, but if you have a cooler place to keep it, you may keep it out of the fridge overnight. Per my routine, I remove half of the starter and mix a tablespoon of flour and a bit of water in the starter about an hour before I put it in the fridge overnight. The extra tablespoon of flour feeds the starter a bit, and the amount that I've removed is used to prepare a loaf for the morning.
I do an overnight rise so that we have bread baked in the morning while the boat is cool and so we can eat it all day. With the starter that I take out of the jar each evening, I mix the above recipe and let it sit. No kneeding. I cover the mixing bowl with a towel and put the mason jar with the starter culture in the fridge.
So, to recap: feed in the morning, remove half of the starter to make a new loaf in the evening, feed the starter a snack, let it all sit overnight. Easy.
In the morning, or after about 8-9 hours of rising, the dough will be doubled. With wet hands, I scrape the dough from the bowl and turn it out on to the pan. Each corner is gently pulled and folded into the middle. Let it set for 30 minutes and do another turn of the dough by bringing the edges in from the outside to the center. After another 30 minute rest, place in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 25-35 minutes.
If these directions are too vague for you, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial has a good explanation with good photos. They bake in a enameled roasting pan, but I don't have one of those on the boat, so I just use a regular pan.