Sourdough – yeast that comes free from the air, plus gluten free sourdough starter.

For the last two weeks I have been experimenting more with sourdough.  I made a plant last week from  wheat  flour as usual, using stone ground wholemeal flour and warm water.  All you need to do is mix 2 tablespoons of the flour with about 3 tablespoons warm water.  I use tank water which is free of chemicals.  I left this outside, bringing it in at night.  Each day I added a heaped tablespoonful of the flour and about 2 tablespoons water, mixing well.  In a couple of days it had started to bubble, very promising.  I waited until I had about 2 cupfuls and used it as the yeast in my bread, keeping back half a cupful as the plant for future loaves.    It worked really well.

I was told by a learned baker that the sign of a good sourdough loaf is a good texture and the lack of a “wet line” just above the bottom crust.  Mine fitted this criteria so I was very happy indeed.  All I needed to do was keep feeding the remaining plant the tablespoon of flour plus the water each day, putting it outside with a loose cover in the day and bringing it in faithfully each night.

I had often wondered if a gluten free sourdough starter could be achieved so tried this out at the same time, again using 2 tablespoons flour (I used Orgran gluten free plain flour) and enough water to make it into a quite liquid mix.  It needed  just a little whisking to break up any lumps.  Each day I added a heaped tablespoon of gluten free flour and more warm water (about 2 tablespoons).  It really worked – the lack of gluten was no inhibitor at all to the fermentation process.

Much encouraged I made loaves from each of my starters – that is one wheaten loaf, and a gluten free one.  Both were very successful so they are worth giving a try.  The gluten free loaf was far superior to any I’ve ever bought commercially (even then, they weren’t sourdough loaves).

The recipes for each of these plants and their derivative loaves follow.  Keep in mind that the rising is slower than when using commercially prepared yeast, but have patience –  it is well worth the wait.

I am afraid however, that my original plants came to a sticky end.  One night I neglected to bring them inside and the local possum made a feast of them.  All is not lost as I now have another successful plant of each on the go.

Wheat flour sourdough loaf

 1½ cups of sourdough starter (plant, as above)

3 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons salt

3 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ to ¾ cup warm water

Mix all together well, using only ½ cup water at first, to make a soft dough.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise until about doubled in a warm place.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Cut into two equal pieces and place side by side in an 18cm x 28cm greased deep loaf tin.  Allow ro rise almost to the top of the tin, then bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and cook for 25 minutes more or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with the fingertips.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Gluten free sourdough loaf

 1 cup gluten free sourdough starter (as per introduction)

2 cups gluten free plain flour

1½ tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

Mix all together well, mixing in some warm water if needed to make a very soft dough.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise until about doubled in a warm place.

Grease a loaf tin 10cm x 22cm (approximately).  Beat the mixture with a spoon, then pour into the prepared tin.

Allow to rise almost to the top of the tin, then bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and cook for 15 minutes more or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with the fingertips.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

9 thoughts on “Sourdough – yeast that comes free from the air, plus gluten free sourdough starter.

  1. Julienne says:

    Hi Sally
    Have devoured your “Year on the Farm” and “A year in the bottle” has become my kitchen bible so would appreciate your remarks on the following:
    Over the years have made bread, pizza etc. but not with stone ground flour, do you think I could use your wheatflour recipe and substitute the flour or would it need more water?
    Thanks for all your wonderful information and thoughts.
    Regards
    Julienne Walker

    Like

    • Sally Wise says:

      Hi Julienne – yes, you could substitute regular wheat flour in your bread. You may need to adjust the amount of water, but as you are experienced with bread making, you know how the dough should feel so you will be able to judge this well.

      So pleased you like the books.

      Regards
      Sally

      Like

  2. Heather Gruffiths says:

    Hello Sally, I have recently discovered you – how fortunate I am ….
    Would you please send me the recipe for the Hop/Potato yeast plant.
    Like you, I sometimes neglect to feed my starter daily !!!!

    Like

    • Sally Wise says:

      Here you are Heather. Have fun with it. I do!

      Mavis Beattie’s Bread Recipe with Homemade Hop Yeast

      Hop Yeast starter

      1 organic potato – unpeeled (scrubbed), 1 tablespoon hops and water to cover well. Boil until cooked. Cool.

      Mix 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon sugar to a smooth paste using a little of the cooled liquid. Tip this mixture into a saucepan containing the cooled hop/potato mixture. Mash everything and pour into the bottle in which you have put 4 organic sultanas. Set in a warm place to work.

      I use a 1.25 litre plastic lemonade or tonic water screw top bottle. It takes the pressure better than a glass bottle.

      Hop and potato yeast – to feed plant (after about 4 days)

      Boil a medium potato in about 3 cups water until tender. Place a small handful of hops in a mixing bowl. Pour over the boiling potato water. Allow to cool. Hops should have sunk to the bottom.

      When cool, add liquid only to 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix together and top up the starter. Fill the bottle to no more than ¾. Screw the lid down firmly.

      Mixture is ready to bake when you undo the bottle and the ‘starter’ rushes out.

      To make Hop-Potato Yeast Bread (basic recipe)

      Put 1 cup flour in a mixing bowl. Pour in about 1 – 1 ½ cups of bubbling starter. Mix, then leave overnight in a warm place (I sit mine in a cupboard on top of the hot water cylinder).

      Next morning – add about 1 pint water (warm) alternately with extra 4 to 5 cups flour to make a soft dough.

      If not using bread-mix flour, add a small handful of salt. Mix to a soft-firm dough, leave to rise.

      Knock back and put in bread tins. When risen, cook 30 to 40 minutes (20 minutes on High 200 degrees C, and 10 to 20 minutes on 180 degrees C.

      Oil can be added, any kind of flour can be used.

      Like

  3. Louise says:

    Hi Sally,
    I am attempting to make sourdough for the first time, and just have one question.
    When making the sourdough starter do you need to cover it with a lid or plastic wrap?
    Thank you
    Louise

    Like

    • Sally Wise says:

      NO, cover it with a piece of light cloth like muslin. You need to capture the wild yeast from the air. A clean Chux cloth will do the same thing as muslin. I secure it with a rubber band. Regards, Sally

      Like

  4. sandra says:

    can I please confirm something … are you saying that the starter is simply flour and water – nothing else? I am looking forward to trying this, and just making sure I don’t need anything else. Thank you 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s