Real sourdough bread (I'll stop using italics, as I think I've made my point), is a labour of love. If you don't intend to ever go to the trouble of making your own sourdough bread, then just sit back and enjoy the pictures and THANKS for listening so far xoxox
For those of you who are in, let's get "started".
If you don't have a sourdough starter check out this web page, it's how I got my sourdough starter started.
from Paul Allam and David McGuinness' Bourke Street Bakery
Makes 3 small loaves
390g sourdough starter
440g organic plain flour
145g organic wholemeal flour
145g organic rye flour
20g sea salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached, add the plain flour, wholemeal flour, rye flour and the water. Mix on low speed for about 7 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix on low speed for about 6 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough forms.
Lightly grease a container with oil spray and put the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to prove.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press out into a rectangle, about 2.5cm thick. Fold one-third back onto itself, then repeat with the remaining third (like a business letter - if you can remember what one of those looks like). Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold it over again into thirds. Place the dough back into the oiled container and prove again for another hour. (You are creating layers and tension in the dough - that's a good thing).
Divide the dough into three even-sized portions, weighing about 500g each. Working with one protion of dough at a time, shape the loaves into rounds.
Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and place the dough rounds, evenly-spaced, on it. Place in the refrigerator loosely covered with a plastic bag for 8-12 hours. The cold and long fermentation in the fridge is for flavour development and volume.
Remove the loaves from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature - this can take anywhere between 1 and 4 hours - until each loaf has grown in size by two-thirds.
Just before you put them in the oven, make a cross in the top of each loaf using a sharp knife. I slashed mine then realised my oven wasn't up to temperature so they had to sit around for about 5 minutes and the crosses healed over a bit so only one loaf got that crazy-busted-out look that I love.
Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Spray the oven with water and bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then turn the loaves and bake for a further 10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure that the loaves do not burn. Baking shouldn't take any longer than 40 minutes. If the oven temperature is too fierce, turn the heat down a bit.
And there you have it - your own artisan sourdough loaves. It will have been a lot of work and commitment, but you'll forget about all that the moment you sink you teeth into that chewy crust and that tangy, tender crumb. Enjoy, you worked hard for it.