It is said, there comes a day in the life of every bread baker, when you make a successful sourdough. Finally that day is here for me and I have a beautiful bread for it. I tried making the sourdough starter thrice before and had to abandon it each time when the smell was too much to bear within a day. Disheartened I gave up till I met Gayathri who encouraged me and also answered my dozen silly questions and made me patient enough to wait to get a beautiful sourdough. And life looked up! I will write separately about actually making the starter. It has been amazing trying to bake with the starter and I am glad to get reasonably good results.
It is not exactly known how sourdough bread came about. One of the oldest sourdough bread was excavated in Switzerland dates back to 3700BC but the origin of sourdough bread is supposed to be thousand years earlier most likely in the Fertile Cresecent ( Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, etc.). Sourdough was the leavening used for bread production for most of human history. Baker’s yeast is only 150 years old. Isn’t that absolutely fascinating? Sourdough remained the usual form of leavening down into the European Middle Ages until being replaced by barm from the beer brewing process, and then later purpose-cultured yeast. Bread made from 100% rye flour, popular in northern Europe, is usually leavened with sourdough. Baker’s yeast is not useful as a leavening agent for rye bread, as rye does not contain enough gluten. French bakers brought sourdough techniques to Northern California during the California Gold Rush. For simplicity sake, I will assign Switzerland as the country of origin for this bread.
Country – Switzerland
Makes one 8″ round loaf
Recipe adapted from here
WHAT WE NEED
Cherry tomatoes 12
Thyme sprigs 2
Sourdough starter 100 gms
Whole wheat flour 100 gms
Water 60 ml
Salt 4 gms
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
WHAT TO DO
- Mix the starter, flour and salt and set aside for 30 minutes
- Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and pluck the thyme leaves from the stem and dice them finely
- Mix the cherry tomatoes, thyme leaves and cayenne pepper with the flour mixture
- Stretch and fold the dough every 15 minutes for an hour and a half
- Cover it with cling wrap and set aside for 5 hours
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and shape it into a ball
- Keep it covered with cling wrap in the refrigerator overnight
- Preheat the oven to 250C
- Transfer the dough to a baking tray
- Slash the dough on top 3-4 times and bake for 15 minutes
- Reduce the temperature to 230C and bake for 10 minutes
- Remove the loaf and brush the top with clarified butter / ghee
- Reduce the temperature to 210C and bake for 5-6 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
- Cool completely before slicing
- If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use 2 tsp of dried thyme
- Stretch and fold means lifting one side of the dough and folding it over the opposite side. Every 15 minutes, stretch and fold one of the four sides of the dough in rotation.
This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter S.