Starter News: Day 5 and Garth the Starter’s first loaf.

Day five arrived and it was the last day of action, according to Mr Lepard’s instructions from day 6 I could get baking (although I left it until the weekend, having not got the time to devote to bread making). So here’s how day five went down and the trials and tribulations of my first sourdough loaf.

Day Five:

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Dan Lepard says that by day five the fermentation should be obvious, and the aroma should be starting to turn acidic.

Ingredients:

100g water at 20 degrees c

125g strong white flour

Method:

1) Remove and discard 3/4 of the starter from the kilner jar.

2) Pour in the water and mix well.

3) Add the flour and stir to a thick paste. Cover and leave for another 24 hours.

Dan Lepard favours keeping the refreshment heavier on the flour than the liquid (when many prefer a 1:1 ratio) as he says this slows down the rate of fermentation and prevents the leaven from rising and falling too quickly.

My first loaf.

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Seemingly everyone out there has varying and often conflicting rules when it comes to sourdough loaves, being highly inexperienced in this field I decided to play it safe with a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from the channel4 food website. I decided upon this recipe as it uses a sponge method, which you make 24 hours before you make the dough, it’s a technique I used to make my stollen at christmas and I was pretty pleased with that. I did have a few disasters along the way; my proving basket is yet to arrive, so I used a suggestion off another food blog to heavily flour a tea towel and use it to line a colander. A brilliant idea in practice, but when you fail to properly flour the tea towel and your dough sticks to it once it’s proven it doesn’t seem like a great idea. In the future, if I’m devoid of the proper equipment, I will use this method but HEAVILY flour my tea towel. I also failed to heat my baking sheet properly, and I then didn’t cook my loaf for long enough, so it was quite undercooked on the bottom. But there were a few positive aspects of my first bake. The crust was great (having used the pan full of boiling water to create steam method) and the top of the loaf had a pretty good crumb. I played it too safe with the presentation of my first loaf, and decided to not slash the dough, so it did just look like a boulder. But all in all I am pretty damn proud of my first loaf, knowing I cultivated Garth from the very beginning. Hopefully this is the start of something, and after a few more dodgy loaves I’ll be cracking out artisan bread left, right and centre. But for now, my slightly stodgy sourdough was a sufficient accompaniment to some homemade soup.

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