Bread baking is a skill, though i can bake some basic quick breads , however, every time i think about baking an yeast bread chills my belly. The two kinds of yeast bread that I can bake so far is a whole wheat sweet bread and a sourdough bread. A couple of weeks ago, i tried making a multi-grain dinner rolls, you cant imagine what happened… the loaf was dense, it did rise, and the grains didnot blend in well, it caused too much crumblyness, and I got the feel that I added too much of them, although I used only 1/4 cup of uncooked grains. It was difficult to chew and eat.
This time, I wanted to try a slightly different version, which is sourdough, cos I know that sourdough can give you a elasticity and softness to the grain dough. With this vague idea to make a grain sourdough, i started looking for recipes… There are soo many ways to make this thing. I picked up this one.
This whole process from thought to plate takes about 2 days.
Day 1: Create a sourdough starter:
Mix 1 cup of white bread flour + 1 cup of water + 2 tbps of sugar + 1 tsp of yeast in a tall lidded container, keep it closed overnight or 24 hours with lid on and a slight opening on one corner for air to escape.
Day 2: Make the dough
* sourdough starter from day 1 should yield about 1.5 cups of sponge
* 1/4 cup of 10 Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain cereal, cooked in a microwave for 4 minutes and cooled completely for a good 10-15 minutes
* 3 tbps of honey
* 2 cups of white unbleached bread flour
* 1 tsp of salt
* 5 tbps of oil
In a wide bowl, add the sponge, honey + bread flour + salt + cereal and start mixing with a wooden spoon. Once the mix comes together to a coarse mixture and when it is difficult to turn with the spoon, oil your hands and fold over the dough for a couple of times for 2 minutes. Shape into a round ball, place it in a oiled bowl for about 4-5 hours. You will see that the dough has risen double or more in volume. Now take about 3/4 of the dough (we are going to save the rest as a sourdough for our next bread), and punch down the air bubbles with you hand gently, and fold it in the form of loaf, tuck in the loose ends, and place it in a loaf pan for a second rise. This will take about 1 – 1.5 hours.
Once the dough has reached the top of the pan, preheat the oven to 400C with a iron pan, and place the loaf on the middle or top rack, and pour hot boiling water to the iron pan, close the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Learning points: I forgot to slit the loaf on the top for air to escape, so I found the inside of the loaf extremely soft and not the crusty feel that I imagined from a typical sourdough and also you can see that the top of the loaf has flattened as you see here because of over proofing. So the next time, I am going to proof just for 45 minutes to an hour.
Let it cook on a wire rack for a good 1 hour, and slice and serve warm with soup for dinner or with fresh butter for breakfast. By far, this is the softest sourdough bread i have made. The bread is still carried a lovely taste, and happy to make something work with the whole grain at last. To make the texture more firm, just transfer the bread to a ziploc bag and refrigerate for a couple of hours, and hopefully it will get more firmer to slice.