Saturday, March 12, 2011

Talking to bread

After two weeks, I was heartily sick of eating fluffy gluten free bread. Since my first attempts at sour dough I have been an addict at breakfast time especially. As I was unable to find a recipe for gluten free sour dough anywhere so my first attempt was unaided. I was really pleased with the results so I will share them with you.
You will need to make/borrow/beg a sour dough starter. I used my rye starter which I had removed from the fridge and 'fed' the day before starting.
Bread making is an art rather than a science, so don't worry too much about times or weights and measures. The process of sourdough cannot be hurried. It will however, proceed quite happily without much intervention on your part. It is easiest to start 24 hours before you want to bake. I begin the 'sponge' after dinner, knead the bread after breakfast then bake while cooking dinner the next day.
Don't be put off by the length of this recipe, I have tried to explain the processes for bread beginners. If you have made bread before, you can skip a lot of it.

You will need:
2 C room temperature water
1 C of 'refreshed' sour dough starter 
75g ground linseed
½ C sunflower seed
1 ½ tsp salt

0 hour: Making the sponge (nothing to do with cake)
Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl.
Add 3C of flour and all other ingredients except the salt in a large mixing bowl.
Mix to a thick batter.
Place in a plastic bag and cover with a cloth. Do not seal the bag, you need to let the dough breathe but you don't want a crust forming. Sit in a draught free place.
8-12 hours: Kneading and shaping.
The batter will have risen slightly in the centre and have a sponge like appearance when the surface is disturbed. This means that the natural yeasts and bacteria in the sourdough have been activated and are producing bubbles of carbon dioxide.
Oil a loaf tin.
Stir the salt into the sponge. This is important to stop the work of the bacteria that inhibit the natural yeasts that aerate the dough.
Sprinkle some of the remaining 2 C of flour onto your bench and scrape the sponge onto it.
Flour your hands and begin to work the extra flour into the dough by pulling a little dough from the edge that sits at 12 on the clock with your fingers and pushing it back into the centre firmly with the heel of your hand.
Swivel the dough ¼ turn and repeat, adding extra flour to the bench as you need to until it it possible to form it into a loaf shape. Continue until the flour is used up. You can add a little more if you need to as all flours vary in moisture content.

The dough will remain heavy and sticky but should be dry enough that your hand doesn't stick to it. The texture is not crucial, gluten free dough's are always 'wetter' than those made with high gluten flour
At this stage, bread dough's are tested by pushing a finger into the dough to form an indent. If it springs back, the gluten has been activated and you can stop kneading. I tried this with the gluten free loaf and after a lot of kneading it did spring back slightly.

Shape into a rough loaf, place in the oiled tin and press dough down to an even thickness.
Return the tin to your plastic bag and cover again. Leave to rise (or proof.)
12-24  hours: Baking
Preheat you oven to 200˚.
Your loaf should have now doubled in size. If it hasn't, leave it a little longer.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.
Cool on a rack, covered by a cloth.
Sourdough keeps really well without refrigeration. It is better toasted if you keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. If you want to eat it fresh, keep it in a cool place.

If you have made bread before you will find this dough is very different from bread with gluten. The results were very pleasing - even bubbles, a firm texture, not soggy and slicing well with a lovely sour dough aroma and it is still looking good after 6 days! Don't be discouraged if your first result is not perfect. Remember that the dough is a living being. It needs food, water, warmth, moisture and care, to rest undisturbed and responds to being talked to.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment...always good to know that someone is reading and (hopefully) enjoying.