This is a guest post by Yolanda from www.buzzcloth.com
Finding things to do with your fourteen year old son can be tough. But it becomes somewhat easier when you use the fact that teenage boys are always hungry as your secret weapon!
Making no-knead Sourdough Bread has become the favourite Yummy Activity for him (aside from Super Duper Popping Popcorn), to the extent that he even decided to provide our local community with our fresh, crusty loaves and now is a familiar figure with his delivery basket and fedora as he marches across the fields to fulfil his orders.
It all started with me, a few months ago, a figuratively handicapped and disinterested chef. I decided our six-strong family couldn’t sustain our appetite for fresh bakery bread every day. A friend of mine swore she had a recipe for bread that even I would manage, and I decided to take the gamble.
Lo and behold, she was right. Seriously, the recipe was for a no-knead sourdough bread, 15-minute hands-on time, fail-safe recipe that results in the most delicious, crusty bread that has a reasonable shelf-life…. (Disclaimer: it’s usually consumed very quickly, especially when it comes out the oven, cut while still piping hot and smothered in organic butter!)
And even after a few days, the kids still enjoy the bread as toast, especially when its cut into thin slices, and again smothered in butter and grated Somerset Cheddar Cheese. Mmmmmmm.
In full transparency, there are two new habits that you need to create if you want to make sourdough bread a new member of your family.
First, the turnaround time of the bread is ideally two full days, or if you’re pushed, one full day, plus an overnight. In those two days, you are busy with the bread with not more than 15 minutes.
Secondly, the starter needs to be fed three times a week (this takes a minute) so this needs to be on your radar!
If you’re still reading, let me give you the goods:
You will need:
- A heavy cast-iron casserole dish with lid. You can get round or rectangular, we have one of each. Rectangular loaves don’t look as sexy but they’re more practical to cut
- Bread baskets (bannetons)
- Razor blade
- Plastic paddle
- Buzzcloth or clean dishcloth to cover the dough
We were gifted our Fridge Starter (our name for the fermented starter) but you can buy them online or make your own but mixing equal amounts of flour to water and leave it to ferment for about five days. (I have never personally done this so please double check this online). We store ours in the fridge in a jar with a lid.
To feed your Fridge Starter, give it a shake, throw half down the sink, add about 50ml of cold water, one heaped tablespoon of wholewheat flour and one heaped tablespoon of white flour.
Give it a good stir and put back in the fridge till next time. Should be the consistency of pancake batter.
Now, onto making the bread:
Day 1 – Leaven Day (evening) 100g brown flour
100g white flour
200g luke water
3 tablespoons of Fridge Starter
Put the Fridge Starter into the water, mix well, then mix in with the two varieties of flour. Cover and leave at room temperature til the following morning.
Day 2 – Dough Day (makes three small loaves or two medium loaves)
150g brown flour
850g white flour Leaven
700ml luke warm water
Pour the water into the leaven which should have air bubbles in it and will float when you add the water. Sometimes, the Dough Starter will not appear to have air bubbles so don’t be alarmed if you think something is wrong. Just go with it. Stir thoroughly. Mix altogether, using a tablespoon to start with, then switching to the paddle to edge-scrape and fold-in, scrape and fold-in until your dough is mixed. It should be reasonably sticky.
Cover with your Buzzcloth and wait half hour.
50ml boiling water.
Mix the salt and water until most of the salt is dissolved.
Add to the dough and mix in, using your paddle do the edge-scrape/fold-in method. Cover.
Leave it to rise at least three hours
Every few hours, at least thrice, when you remember, edge-scrape/ fold-in the dough.
Sometime in the late afternoon, early evening, throw some flour onto a clean surface, and turn out the dough. Lightly dust with flour Cut into three (or two) with your paddle. Leave to rest for half an hour.
Flour your bannetons. With flour on your hands, do a few cycles of dough stretching until the dough feels like a nice firm ball. Place in the bannetons, then in a plastic bag (close the bag but leave slightly open) and place in the fridge overnight (or until chilled if you want to bake that same evening).
Day 3 – Baking Day
Put the casserole dish into the oven and preheat the oven (and dish) on 230 degrees Celsius (fan oven)
After about 15 minutes, put one of dough balls in the casserole dish. Don’t burn yourself! Score the surface of the bread in two places longitudinally with a razor blade.
Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on.
Turn down oven to 220 degrees celsius. Remove the lids and bake another 20 minutes.
It sounds quite complicated but honestly, you quickly get used the method and you’ll do it without thinking!