23/02/2007
Moro Sourdough
Bread / Summer / Sam & Sam Clark / Serves: 8


STAGE 1

450g unbleached strong white bread flour (preferably organic)
700ml cold water
250g Sourdough Starter (see separate recipe), stir first to recombine before measuring


STAGE 2

100g unbleached strong white bread flour (preferably organic)
150ml cold water


STAGE 3

450g unbleached strong white bread flour (preferably organic)
2-3 teaspoons fine sea salt (depending on how sour the dough is)
olive oil or sunflower oil for oiling the bread tins
extra flour (bread or fine semolina) for dusting




Notes:

This recipe will make two loaves.

We have had good success with New Zealand Biograins Stoneground Organic White Flour and also Kialla Organic Unbleached Plain Flour. Feed the starter organic flour, then you can always make organic bread!

A sourdough will need slightly more salt than bread made with a commercial brewer's yeast because of its sour flavour. If you are unsure taste a little bit of the dough to make sure the balance is right.

We mix our bread by hand but if you use a dough-hook be careful not to over-mix the dough (5 minutes is sufficient). The gluten of an over-kneaded dough will have lost all its elasticity and this will result in a bread of poor texture and shape.

Bread needs warmth. It likes to be made in a modern centrally heated house, not a cold draughty pantry. Nowadays, most houses are warm enough, but do not leave the rising dough next to an open window. Use a hotwater cupboard during winter if you have one.

The slower the rise, the better texture and taste the bread has. For this reason the recipe has two rising stages - first overnight and then the next day. This is best suited to sourdough especially.

Source:

Moro
Ebury Press, 2001
pp.14-16


STAGE 1: Friday night, before bed

In a mixer, with a dough hook, or by hand in a large bowl, mix the water into the flour, then stir in the starter.
Transfer to a larger bowl if the mixture comes above two-thirds, for it will rise a little bit.
Cover and leave overnight.


STAGE 2: Feed the original sourdough starter

Add the flour and water to the original starter and mix until incorporated.
It does not matter if there are a few lumps as these will disappear.
Cover and leave overnight (out of the fridge).


STAGE 3: Saturday up until midday

Return the sourdough starter to the fridge.
You will need two 450g rectangular bread tins, roughly 22cm long by 11cm wide and 6.5cm high.
First stir in the salt, then add the flour to the existing bowl of dough that has been resting overnight and mix by hand until smooth or turn the machine on to a low setting.
When mixed in, beat by hand (with the tips of your fingers) for 5-8 minutes until more or less smooth and elastic. If using machine 5 minutes should be sufficient.
The dough does not need to be kneaded on a floured board, as it is too wet anyway.
Rest for another 5-10 minutes to relax the dough, while you prepare the bread tins.
Oil the tins well, then dust the inside generously with flour (bread or semolina).
Beat the dough again for 2-3 more minutes.
Divide the dough between the tins. They should be no more than two-thirds, full.
Lightly dust the top with more flour.
Depending on the room temperature and activity of the starter, the dough will need 3-5 hours to prove until increased in size by a third at least, or the dough has risen as much as possible in the tin without overflowing.

STAGE 4: Saturday Afternoon

When the dough is roughly in it's last half-hour of rising, preheat the oven to 230C.
When the oven is up to temperature and you are satisfied the dough has risen sufficiently, place the tins on the middle shelf.
Bake for a good 30 minutes (try not to give in to the temptation to look at it for the first 15 minutes as it can affect the rise).
When the 30 minutes are up, remove the bread from the tins and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
If the bread has formed a good hard crust and has browned it is ready.
To make extra sure, tap the bottom, which should feel hollow.

Transfer to a cooling rack and leave until completely cool.
It is always tempting to cut the bread before it has totally cooled, but if you do, the steam will be released and change the texture.
Bread with a perfect texture should have even holes and a glossy look to it.
If your bread is split or cracked in any way, then it means it had not quite proved enough.