Monday, February 6, 2012

A Simplified Semi-Sourdough Bread

I love reading the precise descriptions of how Bourke Street Bakery makes their sourdough breads. Knowing the entire bakery bread baking process has made me realise that a good and efficient wild yeast starter is an absolute essential to create an authentic and well-balanced sour taste and texture in a good loaf of sourdough bread.

Sometimes, I wish that I can bake an authentic sourdough bread just like how Bourke Street Bakery does, but it seems so crazy and impossible for a busy working mum like me to go through all these tedious procedures just to put a loaf of sourdough bread on our dining table. According to this book, the sourdough starter itself need at least four weeks to initial and require lots of feeding and maintenance schedule in order to keep it alive. Furthermore, the wild yeast in the sourdough starter are not known to be not as active as the commercial ones and this means a typical sourdough bread will need a longer fermentation time.

I've re-created a simplified version of semi-sourdough recipe. It contains one-third of the recipe which is largely adapted from the book, Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam and David Mcguinness. Using this recipe, I've made my own starter culture using regular commercial yeast and leave it to ferment for more than 18 hr at room temperature. I was hoping that this overnight fermentation will encourage some wild yeast and bacteria to grow in this starter and will eventually create a sourdough like-taste even within this shorter period of fermentation.

My further reading from this book, The Bread Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, has also made me realise that a typical sourdough starter usually contains a combination of wild yeast and Lactobacillus which is a bacteria specie that can metabolize the bread dough to give it a tangy sour taste. Unlike wild yeast, the regular commercial one cannot tolerate too acidic environment created by Lactobacillus and only the wild yeast can grow in symbiotic combination with Lactobacillus. To counter this, I've added an extra minimal amount of yeast in my bread dough to compensate the "dead" yeast after the extensive overnight fermentation.

Ta-da! This is my semi-sourdough bread! I think that it tastes quite similar to a typical sourdough bread. It is lightly crusted on its outside; moist, chewy and slightly-tangy in its inside. I'm very happy that this simplified recipe has worked well for me.

easy sourdough bread 
my white starter
Making my bread...
easy sour dough bread
We are enjoying every lovely slice of this bread...Yum!
Here's my simplified Semi-Sourdough Bread recipe, mostly adapted from the book, Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam and David Mcguinness

Make 1 loaf, 0.5 kg dough

white starter*

100g water
100g bread flour
1/4 tsp sugar - I've added this to encourage initial feeding of starter cultures
1/4 tsp instant dried yeast

*This starter contains 10% extra to compensate any loss due to evaporation or sticking on side of bowl and hands.

Make this starter 18-24 hr prior to bread making. Mix all starter ingredients by hand and let the starter to ferment in room temperature until it is ready on the next day for bread making.

225g bread flour
3g fresh yeast or 1/3 tsp instant dried yeast
90ml water
4g sea salt

Method:

To make the bread using an electric mixer, put the starter in the bowl of the mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add the flour, yeast, water and salt. Mix on slow speed for 4 min, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to high for 5 min, or until dough comes away from the edges of the bowl and is smooth and elastic. The dough should be able to be stretched to transparent and create a window. Cover the bowl and set aside to rest for 20 min.

Lightly grease a container and sit the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at ambient room temperature (approximately 20°C) for 1 hr to bulk prove.

To knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and press out into a rectangle about 2.5 cm thick. Use your hands to fold one-third back onto itself, then repeat with the remaining third. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold it over again into thirds. Place the dough back into the oiled container and continue to bulk prove for a further 1 hr.

Lightly grease a loaf tin (ideal size 15 cm x 9 cm but mine is 10 cm x 20 cm).

To shape the dough, surround dough with your cupped hands, always keeping your hands in contact with the dough. In an anti-clockwise motion, start rolling the dough to create a tight ball with a smooth surface. Set aside on a lightly floured surface for 20 min, covered with plastic wrap.

Stretch dough to double its width. Fold a third into itself towards the middle, then fold in the other third to overlap in the middle. Lightly press down to prevent any large air pockets forming.

Bring the dough into the shape that will be placed into the tin with its seam side facing down. Allow the loaf to grow an extra two-third of its size for approximately 60 to 90 min.

Preheat the oven to 220°C and 200°C fan forced. Spray the oven with water and bake for 20 min, turn the loaf around and bake for another 10 min. Check the base of the loaf with a tap of finger - if it sounds hollow, it is ready. The loaf should take no longer than 40 min in total to bake.

Happy Baking
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Don't forget that to join in my blog hop event, Cook like a Star starting on on 1st Mar 2012 and the first celebrity chef that I've chosen for March 2012 is Donna Hay!

For each month, I will nominate a specific celebrity chef for us to be star-struck for Cook like a Star and would like to invite everyone to do this blog hop with me. Based on the nominated chef, I will cook or bake one or more of the nominated chef's recipes and do a blog hop with everyone who also cook or bake the nominated chef's recipes.

To join, all you have to do is to cook or bake any of Donna Hay's recipes. Her recipes can be from her cookbooks, magazines and websites and simply do a blog hop with me on the whole month of March 2012. For more details, please see this.

Photobucket

36 comments:

  1. Hi Zoe! Your bread looks amazing! It has everything I always look for in a homemade bread. The starters are always very discouraging but I will be trying your method. Off to check Donna Hay's recipes :) Have a wonderful day! Hugs!

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  2. Looks fantastic and a great tutorial. Saving this one.
    Rita

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  3. It may sound like it takes a lot of time and effort in making that bread but it looks like it's really worth it ;) Well done , Zoe !

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  4. Oh I love baking bread too and would love to try out this recipe soon! Your loaf looks so delicious and beautiful with very even color.

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  5. oh I love bread, your loaf looks so attempting ^^

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  6. Wow! The bread looks amazing! I haven't had a decent chunk of fresh bread since going gluten free. Your pics are droolworthy!

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  7. You are so creative! Like your version of the sourdough bread. My sister-in-law once joined a course of making this & this is why I always think that it is just too much for me to learn, haha! You are brilliant!

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  8. Hi Zoe! You are the bread making queen. I am still not there! I love that your going to make May the Barefoot Contessa month. I will have to drum up a new recipe from her and save it for May. I think I will use one of her spring or summer favorites.

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  9. hi Zoe,
    I've an award for you. Head over to my blog to pick it up?
    http://thebatterbaker.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks NEL for the award. I'm very honored to receive this from you.

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  10. I love homemade bread! This looks just amazing!

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  11. Very nice texture. I've always admire people with such passion and patience in making bread from scratch! Lovely.

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  12. Your bread looks perfect! Four weeks to start with the sourdough starter? I rather do it your way! Your bread looks so good, would be perfect as a sandwich bread or simply with lots of butter! And a cup of black coffee! Yum!

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  13. Perfect bake ..yummy slices,looks soft too!!
    Erivum Puliyum

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  14. hi zoe, thanks for your explaination on the wild yeast and the addition of the yeast here. I havent started reading the BB apparentice yet, if anything unsure i will probably need to chk with you. Beautiful loaf as always!

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  15. Amazing bread!Blessings,dear!

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  16. This bread looks very professional. I also have the Bourke Street Bakery book but all looks so complicated. I do have breadmaking on my to do list though!

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  17. Zoe, I still have to try sourdough bread...after reading your post I feel I little more confident that I may try. Your bread looks light and fluffy, so pretty.
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you have a great week ahead :)

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  18. You are so clever with your breadmaking - I swear I could smell it as I was looking at the photos! Wonderful!
    mary x

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  19. I love sourdough bread! I haven't had it in years though. I just never think to buy it (or make it!). Yours looks delicious!!!

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  20. I love your simplified version! You're totally right- doing it the "real" way is sucha pain :( I can't wait to try this!

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  21. Love the rustic look! Bet it tastes great too.

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  22. Hi Zoe, your bread look excellent. And beautiful click too. Wish I can have a bite now. LOL Have a nice day.

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  23. I forgot which blog that I saw about you asking where to get the Carol's baking book in Singapore. Hehe... Anyway, you can find her book in Kinokuniya bookstore in Singapore. :)

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    1. Thanks Hanushi! You are right that I left my comments on Vivian Pang's blog asking for advices to look for Carol's books. As advised previous by Cathy, I went to the Kinokuniya at Takashimaya before but still can't find them...maybe I have not been looking hard enough and will try again for my next trip.

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  24. Great looking sourdough you got there Zoe! I remember the first time I made sourdough for my mum, she asked me why I let her eat bread that's spoiled, lol! Oh I have a couple of Donna Hay cook books, perhaps I can try it out and be a star baker for a day, heehee

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    1. Good to know that you have a couple of DH books... Hope that you can cook or bake one or more DH recipes and blog hop with me! It will be fantastic to have you participating this event :D

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  25. My father's aunt makes sourdough bread when we visit her at her village and I love the texture and the sour flavor it leaves in your mouth. This one looks fantastic Zoe!

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  26. Such gorgeous bread! And I'm so impressed you made your own starter!!!

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  27. Zoe Love this bread, especially for my kids! I vae to make, look soo good!

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  28. Your bread looks perfect, Zoe! It's so cold today; I'd love to toast a slice and put some butter and jam on it right now:)

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  29. Once again, your perfect looking bread has made me sigh. I love it! I've found that a 24hr fermentation does help the dough taste more sourdough-like. When I am making knead breads that are kept in the refrigerator, I often use the same container over and over without washing it out. That helps it to ferment just a bit more each time. Not truly a sourdough, but it does improve the flavor! I forget where I first read that rip, but I've been doing it for a while now and it does work.

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  30. I got the Bourke Street Bakery book from Jane as Christmas gift. But I don't know when i will start to make the sourdough bread from this book when look at the tedious steps!Luckily you are sharing the short-cut and fast version, might try this out soon. Thanks for sharing.

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  31. Hi bread lovers,

    I’ve recently started working with Sourdoughs International and I’m learning the difference between using authentic wild yeast and commercial yeast (bakers yeast) the taste and appearance is so different it is absolutely amazing! I totally recommend that you check it out at www.sourdo.com, EnJoY!!

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