I started making homemade bread probably more than 20 years ago. Bread makers became popular at that time and all-in-one mixtures made it all extremely easy. A few years ago I decided to stop using the machine and started doing it all manually. Every country has a different bread culture. The Italian bread and especially the Tuscan bread is completely different than what we, belgians, are used to. Although I can find some lovely mixtures, making sourdough bread from scratch was already on my to do list for a long time. The first tryout was immediately a success, but I couldn’t believe it wasn’t related to beginner’s luck. After the second one I’m ready to share the’process’ which I read in the Albert Hein’s magazine of November this year.
Start from scratch with the sourdough starter. Take a super clean jar ( a preserving jar)of minimal1 liter. Weigh the jar to know the tare weight. Write this weight on the jar to help you in the future. Mix 50 grams of whole wheat flour with 50 ml of lukewarm water. Put in the jar. Cover with cling film. Store at room temperature. Add the same mixture to the jar each following day for 7 days. Mix thoroughly with a fork. After 3 days you can notice some ‘activity’ or bubbles in the jar. If you store the starter at room temperature, you need to ‘refresh’ it almost daily. If you store the starter in the fridge, refresh weekly. ( refresh = stir, and/or refill with a new portion of 50 grams of whole wheat flour and 50 ml of lukewarm water).
Now you can start the first bread. Mix 50 grams of the starter with 50 ml of water and 50 grams of whole wheat flour in a large bowl. Cover with cling film. Allow to rest for almost 3h.
Add 550 grams of flour ( I tend to mix buckwheat, spelt, manitoba, whole wheat ), 12 grams of salt and 300 ml of lukewarm water. Knead for approximately 10 minutes until you obtain an elastic dough. It remains a bit sticky, but no need to add extra flour. Grease the bowl with some oil. Put the dough in the bowl. Cover with cling film. Allow to rest for 2h, on a nice warm ( no sunny) spot.
Fold and tear the dough every hour during the following 3h.
Spread some flour on the surface of the bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl. Dust some flour on the dough. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge for 12h.
Heat the oven at 230°. Put a cast iron pot in the oven. Once the temperature is set, put the dough on a piece of baking paper. Make a few incisions on the surface. Put the dough and baking paper carefully in the hot cast iron pot. Cover with the lid. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid. Bake for another 17-20min. Put the bread on a grid to cool down.