Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Multigrain Sourdough

Whenever I slice into a newly baked loaf, I am filled with utter satisfaction and joy that my husband or I baked this. There is just something so beautiful about baking your own bread and then eating it. The bread is a nurturer, in some strange way, the most basic food.

We have baked with sourdough consistently for about 2 years now. While we were away in India, our sourdough starter passed away, but we had dehydrated some sourdough starter before we left, so we have continued its legacy. I simply followed Clotilde's life-saving recipe for dehydrating sourdough: Spread some sourdough on parchment paper, let it dry, crumble it up and store it in an airtight container. When using it, rehydrate 10 grams of it with 10 grams of water, then after 10 minutes, feed it 10g of rye flour and 15g of water every 4 - 5 hours, and watch it slowly come back to life. THANK YOU CLOTILDE!!

My husband loves to bake walnut sourdough, a bread that takes 24 hours, but makes the perfect grilled cheese, among other things. Sometimes I have less patience and like to follow recipes from the Wild Yeast Blog. Susan's method is a lot quicker -- you can bake sourdough bread in one day, which is nice.

Last night I baked her Seeded Multigrain Sourdough and it came out perfect. Mine is scented with nigella seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds, but you could use whatever seed combination you like. I have heard that flax seeds don't impart their nutrition unless they are ground, or in oil form, so I don't really like to use whole flax in the bread. Also, it's dangerous to expose flax seeds to high temperatures.

If you would like to begin making your own sourdough starter, I have instructions here. I suggest using organic rye flour because it's easier to turn into a starter, and has a nice sour tang. Just make sure, before beginning a sourdough recipe, that you have fed your starter 1 or 2 times (or more) and that the starter is active and bubbly. 

As per Susan's suggestion, I'm submitting my bread to YeastSpotting!

Multigrain Sourdough
Adapted from The Wild Yeast Blog
Makes a loaf

60g rolled oats
25g sunflower seeds
20g sesame seeds
20g hemp seeds
10g nigella seeds
86g water

215g all purpose flour
160g spelt flour
180g sourdough starter*
227g water
9g salt

1. Mix all the soaker ingredients together.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, add all the flours, starter and water and mix for 2 - 3 minutes.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

3. Add salt to the dough and mix for 10 minutes by hand or 5 - 7 minutes in a mixer, until it's glutenous and elastic. Add the soaker ingredients and mix until evenly distributed. Cover with a tea towel and keep in a warm place.

4. After 50 minutes, stretch and fold the dough on all 4 sides. Cover. Repeat again after 50 minutes.

5. After 2 1/2 hours, transfer the dough to a greased and floured loaf pan. Cover and proof for another 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

6. Preheat oven to 475F or 250C. Once the bread is in the oven, throw ice cubes at the bottom of the oven to create steam. Reduce heat to 450F or 230C. Bake for 20 minutes, then take the bread out of the loaf pan and transfer to a baking sheet, and continue to bake for 10 or so minutes, until nicely brown. The internal temperature on a digital thermometer should read at least 100C. Turn off oven and leave the bread there for another 10 minutes, with the oven door ajar.

Cool completely before eating. Store in a plastic bag or container.  Enjoy!

* I feed my sourdough starter 8 hours before starting the bread making process. That means I take out my sourdough from the fridge, feed it, then feed it again after 5 hours, and after that, use it after 2 - 3 hours. I make sure that the sourdough has large bubbles -- is active, before I start. After I use what is needed for a recipe, I return the rest of the sourdough to the fridge. I feed my starter every week, or else it starts to starve and imparts a sickly paint smell.

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