food, health, home

To Sour A Dough

The uptake of families using their pandemic down time to create things at home, has led to shortages of essentials, in some places.

It is as if we have rewound the clock, to an earlier time, when takeaway was unknown and we prepared all of our own food. Which is such a better way to eat than packaged, pre-prepared foods that are preserved beyond comprehension and have a shelf life that Cro-Magnon man would envy?

Repressed Baker or Bakeaholic?

In my house, the baking frenzy – and the #onecakeaweek has been in full swing during the length of the Covid pandemic. Yet, I still bear the title of ‘Repressed baker.’

Or, perhaps it was likely that I was a baker in a former life?

I venture to say the joy of kneading bread dough, for me, borders on the therapeutic. Kneading, folding, creating and then of course the joy of eating. It is almost blissful.

It is not the first time, this lapsed baker has made bread, but it has been a while.

When I turned 21 years old, I had been baling bread with my own recipe half white/half wholemeal for about 2 years, when I decided it was time to hang up my bread-making apron for other pursuits. Not only was the process of making bread time-consuming, but good yeast, the fresh variety, was hard to find and quite expensive. As a 20-something, the novelty of making my own varieties of bread wore off.

Like others, the enforced leave the pandemic has brought from work, coupled with adult kids who have (mostly), left the nest, means the urge to bake all kinds of things has returned with gusto.

Sourdough Mother

Now in the midst of lockdown, I returned to the kitchen to make sourdough bread. I have already made loads of different kinds of cakes and sweet treats and was growing a sourdough mother under the expert tutelage of my blogger friends and bread-baking mentors, Sandy and Peggy.

Once I was able to secure some wholemeal flour, which was a feat in itself, given the shortages under Covid, I tended the sourdough starter lovingly for days and made a pancakes out of the discard.

The Final Result Sourdough Rolls

At the end of the week, I produced these wonderful Wholemeal Sourdough bread Rolls from Peggy‘s recipe.

bread rolls

I had enough to give some to my son and a friend. Surprisingly, the friend who happens to be Danish, is used to beautifully cooked bread, and she raved about my sourdough rolls.

I was a little surprised she liked them, as I found them quite dense in texture and sliced them thinly to toast them. But then compared to Rugbrød, the Danish Rye bread, they are most likely light and airy; given that the Danes like their bread really heavy and solid.

Danish Rugbrød or Ryebread

The Sourdough Mother has now gone, so I will have to start the process over again, which is a lot of fun.

Next time, it will be with Rye flour and linseed, just like the Danes, I think.

A Home by the Sea

10 thoughts on “To Sour A Dough”

  1. Your breads look amazing. Just so you know, the normal routine is to feed the mother and save a quantity for future recipes, so you don’t have to make more starter over and over again. My starter is almost a decade old. I feed 125 grams of the mother with 200 ml warm water and 200 ml bread flour. Then I cook with whatever is leftover.

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    1. My understanding is that you have to feed the mother every day, Peggy. That is a lot of flour to use every day when I am not planning to make anything with the discard or the starter, itself, in the immediate future. Given the low stocks of wholemeal flour, I decided to stop and start again later. So I used all the starter to make the rolls. Do you feed your every day?

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      1. I have never fed it daily. I feed it only when I am going to make bread. That’s about once a week and I make two large loaves. Starter keeps in the fridge two to three months if it is tightly covered. If left a long time (three months), you sometimes have to feed it three or four times for it to return to being ‘happy and active’.

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  2. I’m like you in that I enjoy baking sometimes more than the eating of it! It’s the reason why I love my classes at culinary school … I’ll make X4 more quantities and varieties than I would at home. The issue of eating it all goes away since it impossible to eat it all – I have to give it away 🙂

    I followed that link to Danish rye starter and found the rye & linseed bread recipe afterwards. It looks like a very dense bread! Reminds me of my very first rye loaf … it was solid like a brick.

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    1. The Danish bread is quite dense, and I guess that is why they can pile high loads of sandwich fillings on top – skagan roe salad mustard as well as meat cheese and veges. The Danes have developed sandwich making in to an art. A though occurred to me that their bread with all its wonderful grains, is extremely healthy – more healthy than the heavily bleach, ultra soft white bread we sell here, which seems to give everyone indigestion as they get older.

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      1. For those types of open sandwiches the focus is definitely on the fillings and you need the solid base to support them. I agree with you on the ultra processed commercial breads. I cannot abide the lack of texture and taste. However there is a happy medium for whole grain breads – they don’t have to be as dense as the Rugbrød or as Styrofoam light the supermarket whites. Thank goodness for that!

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