Another week, another batch of sourdough. For the most part the results have improved, or at least been different, with each attempt.
My fourth try was okay. I tried to save time by using bought potato starch instead of real mashed potato. But the dough was sticky and the bread was dry. Also, I used the dough hook on my mixer rather than hand kneading. It felt like a cop out. I guess the moral of the story is there are no shortcuts to success.
This time I went back to real mashed potato. To maximise the amount of starch I added the potato’s cooking water too. I also used a new kind of flour – extra strong white flour with added protein. The results were far superior. The bread was dense, chewy and with healthy looking bubbles.
I had told a few girls in work about my sourdough who wanted to try it. Until this batch I hadn’t made a loaf that I felt like giving to non-family members. I know they would have smiled and told me they liked it but out of pity, not honesty! I was happy enough with this batch so I brought a few slices in for the girls.They seemed excited but then again who doesn’t when presented with baked goods on a Monday?
To make this bread I used :
1 potato and its cooking water
Lots of extra strong white flour. Probably 3/4 of a bag for two loaves.
First I cooked the potato in a small saucepan. When it was done I used a hand blender to mix it right into the cooking water until it resembled a very thin potato soup.
I measured the starter into a massive bowl and added 2 cups of flour and the potato water. I stirred with a large metal spoon and added a little more water until the sponge was coherent but still a little rough and sticky. I covered this in cling film and left for 8 hours.
After this time it had doubled in size. I tipped it out onto a well floured surface and kneaded, adding more flour and a healthy sprinkling of salt, for about 10 minutes. I’m still aiming to get a perfect ball of dough but it was nicely springy.
I left it to rise for two hours.
Then I kneaded again, adding a little more flour but less than the first time.
I divided it in two and placed in two loaf tins.
I proofed it for two hours.
Then I baked in the oven at 240C for 20 minutes, turned the oven down to 200C and gave it another 20 minutes.
I leave it to cool for a few hours before I slice it.
I usually freeze one loaf, sliced and placed in a freezer bag, so I can eat nice toast all week for breakfast or with soup for lunch. It is just so so good spread thickly with butter and jam. Or, as I had for Sunday breakfast while reading the papers, with spicy red hummus, avocado, salt and chilli flakes.
Until next time!