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Baking real Sourdough Bread

p.

Baking Real Sourdough Bread

by The Artisan Bakery School

All contents copyright © Penny Williams and Dragan Matijevic 2013

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Published by Pendragan Publishing

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Shakespir Edition

ISBN: 9781311611581

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This book cannot be copied, reprinted or redistributed for sale by any mechanical, electronic or other means. The design, photographs and text remain the properties of the authors.

The information contained in this text has been verified and documented as carefully as possible. The authors cannot be held liable for the use of its contents.

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Pendragan Publishing

Old Home Cottage

Sparkwell

Plymouth PL7 5DQ

United Kingdom

First Edition 2013

Table of Contents

Baking Real Sourdough Bread

Table of Contents

What Is Real Sourdough Bread?

How to use this book

Four Basic Sourdough Bread Recipes
p. What flour to use.

Basic White

Basic Brown

Basic White with Olive Oil

Basic White with Rye Flour

Basic Tools

Sourdough Magic – the Starter and the Leaven
p. Creating a sourdough starter
p. Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Leaven factors

Maintaining the starter

Starter →Leaven→Dough→Loaf

Managing Your Time – Three Modes of Baking

The Seven Steps
p. Step 1: Measuring and kneading

Step 2: First rise, folding and Flexi Point 1

Step 3: Scaling, pre-shaping and bench rest

Step 4: Shaping and Flexi Point 2

Step 5: Proving

Step 6: Scoring and decorating

Step 7: Baking
p. Storing

Festive Bread Recipes
p. The Recipes
p. Apricot and Almond Bread with Cardamom

Olive Bread

Cocoa Bliss

Beer Bread with Figs, Ginger & Fennel

Seeded Honey Rye

Spiced Prune and Walnut Bread

Herby Garlic Bread

Essential Tips for Better Baking
p. Life in a mixing bowl (and how to control it!)

Controlling Taste

Controlling Crumb, Texture and Size

Controlling Crust

Controlling Shape

Essential Techniques
p. Shaping

Chafing

Proving

Scoring

Steaming

Essential Baking Terms
p. Fermentation

Retardation

Hydration

Bench-rest

FIFO

Maillard Effect.

Adding Seeds to Your Recipes
p. Seed Varieties

Seed Combinations

Ingredients
p. Flour

Water

Yeast

Salt

Last Note

Thank you for purchasing this book!

Other Books by The Artisan Bakery School
p. Faster Artisan Breads

Building a Wood Fired Oven in a Day

A Million and One Original Bread Recipes

Artisan Bread for Beginners

Gluten-Free, Gourmet Friendly Breads

Perfect Pizza

Baking Low Gluten & Heritage Breads

The Microbakery Blueprint

The Micropizzeria Blueprint

About The Artisan Bakery School

About Dragan

About Penny

Services

Useful Links

What Is Real Sourdough Bread?

Real sourdough bread is a joy to make, to eat and to look at. It is the pride of passionate artisan bakers, and the delight of foodies all over the world. And it is not as hard to make as it looks. It used to be made in everyone’s home, every day. In fact, its history is almost as long as humankind’s.

Real sourdough is dough – flour, water and salt – raised purely or primarily by a natural leaven. The magic ingredients are the wild yeasts, acids and friendly bacteria naturally present in all flour, as well as in the air itself. This book shows you how to make, manage and maintain your own natural, wild yeast leaven.

Because wild yeasts vary according to their environments, a San Francisco sourdough will naturally be different to a Devon sourdough or one made in Croatia, or anywhere else in the world. Yours will be unique to where you live. The taste of real sourdough will never be truly ‘sour’ but it will range in flavour across the spectrum from milky to vinegary, (lactic to acetic acids) depending on how long you leave the leaven and the dough to mature. This book teaches you how to bake sourdough that tastes the way you want it to.

Sourdough bread offers health benefits that factory-produced breads full of additives cannot. And, contrary to popular belief, it need not take hours away from your day. It does take a long time to ferment, but you can sleep, work, play and generally ignore the dough for days on end so long as it is in a cold enough place. It will quietly continue its life, patiently waiting for you to come back, shape it, and bake it. This book shows you how to fit real sourdough bread making into even the busiest lifestyles.

Real sourdough bread can be made with white, wholemeal, rye or heritage flours. You can combine the flours to create a huge variety of textures, looks and tastes. You can also add a range of other ingredients to produce a sourdough loaf to suit every occasion and match every menu. This book teaches you how to bake truly exceptional artisanal loaves.

And finally, a word of warning. Once you get started, you’ll be hooked!

Good luck, and happy baking!

Penny & Dragan

How to use this book

First, please read the whole book before you start. 

This will help you organise your thinking and your kitchen, so you don’t get all floury and frustrated even before you start.

If you have never made a wild yeast starter or a natural leaven before, please go to Sourdough Magic.

If you have your own starter, choose a Basic Dough recipe, prepare your leaven and go to The Seven Steps.

Four Basic Sourdough Bread Recipes

This section contains recipes for four basic breads: White, Brown, Rye and White with Olive Oil. We recommend choosing organic strong bread flour, and where possible, a heritage variety (see below).

When making sourdough bread giving your dough time to rise is of the essence. You can do this using our Straight Run Schedule or you can use either of the two fridge methods that give plenty of time to the dough, from 12 to 120 hours.

Notes:

Recipe quantities are also shown as percentages so that you can scale the number of loaves you want to bake up or down. The flour weight is always 100% and other ingredients are a percentage of that weight. Water is 65%, Leaven is 25% and salt is 2%. At The Artisan Bakery School, we only use organic flour, sea salt and filtered water (because chlorine in tap water tends to kill the yeast).

If you want to speed your timings you can increase the amount of leaven in the recipes to up to 50%. If you add over 50% you will be facing rapid breakdown of gluten and will have to keep a keen eye on your dough development.

What flour to use.

Each type of flour has its own characteristics.

White wheat flour will give the best rise. A heritage white flour will usually include a blend of different heritage wheats and may appear almost creamy in colour. It makes excellent sourdough bread.

Wholemeal flour, particularly stoneground, is highly nutritious, but because it is ‘whole’, meaning nothing has been removed, it still contains bran. Bran is rough and tends to burst the gas bubbles in the dough, resulting in a slightly lower rise than the white flour, and a denser crumb. A wholemeal loaf is one made entirely with wholemeal flour, and will be fairly heavy. A brown loaf includes some white flour to lighten the dough.

Rye flour is much lower in gluten than wheat flour, and produces an even lower rise with quite a dense crumb. It has rich and distinctive flavour, and is enjoyably chewy. Rye also combines well with white flour to produce a rustic loaf as in the recipe here.

Heritage flours.

Heritage varieties of flour tend to be a more primitive form of wheat, with only two sets of chromosomes instead of the six or more sets in modern, hybridised wheat. The relative simplicity of their protein structure makes them much easier for humans to digest, and some people with gluten/wheat intolerances or allergies find they can enjoy sourdough breads made with heritage flour.

We suggest you choose one basic recipe first and aim to make great bread with that before moving on to another flour. Once you’re confident and familiar with the way each different dough behaves, you can expand your repertoire using the recipes given in the Festive Breads section of this book.

Basic White

540g – white flour – 3 1/3 cups

100g – leaven – 1/3 cup

350g – water – 1½ cups & 2 Tbsp

12g – Salt – 2 tsp

7 Steps to make your leaven:

1. 12 hours before your bread-making session (i.e. the night before), take the starter from the fridge.

2. Take out 20% of your desired leaven quantity.In our recipe for 100g/1/3cup of leaven you would take out 20g/1 Tbsp starter.

3. Replenish the remaining starter and put it back in the fridge. If you took out 20g/1 Tbsp of starter, replace it with 20g/1 Tbsp of water and 20g/1 Tbsp of flour.

4. Make the leaven. This is made of: 20% starter + 40% flour + 40% water.

5. For 100g/1/3cup of leaven, feed your 20g/1 Tbsp starter with 40g/3 Tbsp od water and 40g/4 Tbsp of white flour.

6. Leave the leaven to ripen for about 8-12 hours. You can test by dropping a blob of it in warm water – if it floats, it’s ready. It should be bubbly, smelling sweetly and slightly acidy – almost like yoghurt. (Note: this is the liquid leaven we’re talking about. A stiff leaven should smell more acidic).

7. Mix your leaven in Step 1 with all the other ingredients to make a dough and follow the rest of the Seven Steps.

Basic Brown

240g – brown flour – 1 & 1/3 cups

300 – white flour – 2 cups

100g – leaven – 1/3 cup

350g – water – 1½ cups & 2 Tbsp

12g – Salt – 2 tsp

7 Steps to make your leaven:

1. 12 hours before your bread-making session (i.e. the night before), take the starter from the fridge.

2. Take out 20% of your desired leaven quantity.In our recipe for 100g/1/3cup of leaven you would take out 20g/1 Tbsp starter.

3. Replenish the remaining starter and put it back in the fridge. If you took out 20g/1 Tbsp of starter, replace it with 20g/1 Tbsp of water and 20g/1 Tbsp of flour.

4. Make the leaven. This is made of: 20% starter + 40% flour + 40% water.

5. For 100g/1/3cup of leaven, feed your 20g/1 Tbsp starter with 40g/3 Tbsp od water and 40g/4 Tbsp of white flour.

6. Leave the leaven to ripen for about 8-12 hours. You can test by dropping a blob of it in warm water – if it floats, it’s ready. It should be bubbly, smelling sweetly and slightly acidy – almost like yoghurt. (Note: this is the liquid leaven we’re talking about. A stiff leaven should smell more acidic).

7. Mix your leaven in Step 1 with all the other ingredients to make a dough and follow the rest of the Seven Steps.

Basic White with Olive Oil

Adding olive oil or pecan oil to your recipes adds taste and softens the gluten (especially good if the flour is of strong variety). You can add anything from 1% to 10%, but 4% is the most common. Like all other additions to basic dough, add oil after you have mixed and kneaded the basic dough (at the end of Step 1). If oil is added at the beginning of mixing process it will coat the gluten strands and will prevent the leaven from working on the dough as well as it should.

540g – white flour – 3 1/3 cups

100g – leaven – 1/3 cup

350g – water – 1½ cups & 2 Tbsp

12g – Salt – 2 tsp

30g – Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp

7 Steps to make your leaven:

1. 12 hours before your bread-making session (i.e. the night before), take the starter from the fridge.

2. Take out 20% of your desired leaven quantity. In our recipe for 100g/1/3cup of leaven you would take out 20g/1 Tbsp starter.

3. Replenish the remaining starter and put it back in the fridge. If you took out 20g/1 Tbsp of starter, replace it with 20g/1 Tbsp of water and 20g/1 Tbsp of flour.

4. Make the leaven. This is made of: 20% starter + 40% flour + 40% water.

5. For 100g/1/3cup of leaven, feed your 20g/1 Tbsp starter with 40g/3 Tbsp od water and 40g/4 Tbsp of white flour.

6. Leave the leaven to ripen for about 8-12 hours. You can test by dropping a blob of it in warm water – if it floats, it’s ready. It should be bubbly, smelling sweetly and slightly acidy – almost like yoghurt. (Note: this is the liquid leaven we’re talking about. A stiff leaven should smell more acidic).

7. Mix your leaven in Step 1 with all the other ingredients to make a dough and follow the rest of the Seven Steps.

Basic White with Rye Flour

Adding rye creates a rustic loaf similar to the French pain de campagne.

When you add rye to your dough it will make it heavier as rye is low on gluten. If you find 15% rye too much you can try 10% instead. On the other hand you may like adding the rye so much that you can try bigger percentages of up to 30%. (For 100% rye loaf, you will need 100% rye leaven too - see our book Low Gluten Sourdough.)

Here are the proportions with rye flour in them:

80g – rye flour – 1/3 cup

460g – white flour – 3 cups

100g – leaven – 1/3 cup

350g – water – 1½ cups & 2 Tbsp

12g – Salt – 2 tsp

7 Steps to make your leaven:

1. 12 hours before your bread-making session (i.e. the night before), take the starter from the fridge.

2. Take out 20% of your desired leaven quantity.In our recipe for 100g/1/3cup of leaven you would take out 20g/1 Tbsp starter.

3. Replenish the remaining starter and put it back in the fridge. If you took out 20g/1 Tbsp of starter, replace it with 20g/1 Tbsp of water and 20g/1 Tbsp of flour.

4. Make the leaven. This is made of: 20% starter + 40% flour + 40% water.

5. For 100g/1/3cup of leaven, feed your 20g/1 Tbsp starter with 40g/3 Tbsp od water and 40g/4 Tbsp of white flour.

6. Leave the leaven to ripen for about 8-12 hours. You can test by dropping a blob of it in warm water – if it floats, it’s ready. It should be bubbly, smelling sweetly and slightly acidy – almost like yoghurt. (Note: this is the liquid leaven we’re talking about. A stiff leaven should smell more acidic).

7. Mix your leaven in Step 1 with all the other ingredients to make a dough and follow the rest of the Seven Steps.

Basic Tools

Check if you’ve got your basic equipment (no worries if not, we can be resourceful!)

a) Digital scales

b) Cooking thermometer

c) Large jug

d) Mixing bowl

e) Plastic scraper

f) Sharp blade,(lame or grignette) for scoring dough

g) Either a couple of bannetons or a couple of baskets / bowls you can line with a clean, floured teacloth.

h) A couple of non-stick baking trays, or metal trays lined with baking parchment

Enough free space in your fridge to keep the mixing bowl!

Sourdough Magic – the Starter and the Leaven

Although many bakers refer to this gloop as the ‘mother’, we call it the starter because you can’t start without it.

Unless you are baking every day, the starter lives in the fridge, and has to be taken out and ‘fed’ with more flour and water to turn it into leaven for making bread. You have to do this about 8-12 hours in advance of your baking session. We’ll go into all this further on.

A starter is a culture of micro organisms, mainly yeasts and healthy bacteria. These yeasts and bacteria exist in the air, but most of them are naturally present in the flour itself: in every 1g of flour there will be about 13,000 cells of wild yeast and 320 cells of lactic acid bacteria, plus various enzymes. The yeast, bacteria and enzymes react together to produce carbon dioxide gas, alcohol and other acids that are good for the flavour of the bread as well strengthening the gluten strands that are so important for volume. If all this sounds complex, remember, all you are doing to start with is mixing equal weights of flour and water, and leaving them in a warm place to do their thing.

The name sourdough is misleading, because the taste of natural bread is never actually sour. It can range from mildly tangy to moderately acidic, depending on various factors, including the percentage of culture to flour, the kind of flour chosen, the time given to rising/fermentation.

For the beginners, let it suffice to say, that you can control the taste simply by playing with the amount of leaven you use and the time that you keep the dough rising. More leaven and more time equals more taste.

Many people believe that sourdough tastes vary according to geographical location, due to the local flora (wild yeast spores and bacteria). We wouldn’t disagree. Lactic acid (the bite in vintage cheddar) and acetic acid (the kick in vinegar) also play their part in the taste and can be balanced to different effects. Some sourdough cultures are reputed to be hundreds of years old; certainly they are jealously guarded by their owners and handed down through generations of baking families. Happily, it’s never too late to start your own!

Creating a sourdough starter

Sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water – and time. All you need to do is keep it warm while you’re creating it, and regularly add more flour and water to build up a ‘colony’ of natural yeasts and bacteria, the micro-organisms that will eventually work the magic in your dough. You will have to taste it occasionally to see if it tastes mild and milky, slightly acidly or very acidly.

You can get a starter from another baker or you can make your own natural bread starter in around five days.

To increase the chances of success it is best to use mineral or filtered water and organic flour (chlorine in water and chemicals in non-organic flour kill bacteria). The timetable follows, and the details for each day are in the following pages.

Day 1

Wholewheat Flour 150g – 1 cup

Water 150g – ¾ cup

Simply mix the flour with water until smooth. It’s best to do this in a plastic tub with a lid – don’t use glass or china containers with hermetic lids because they can explode.

We start off with wholewheat flour because it naturally contains more wild yeasts.

Day 2

The first few bubbles are starting to appear…

Discard about half of the mix from the Day 1.

Add Wholewheat Flour 150g – 1 cup

Water 150g – ¾ cup

Mix until smooth.

Day 3

A greater number of smaller bubbles are now showing up – less like boiling porridge and more like thick champagne! This is because by now you should have around 13,000 cells of wild yeast and about 333 cells of lactic bacteria – or something very near that – in every 1 gram of culture (someone counted this, we promise.). It’s getting to be a very busy bowl. The mixture looks paler here because we’ve started adding white flour.

Discard half the culture from Day 2:

White Wheat Flour 150g – 1 cup

Water 100g – ¾ cup

Mix until smooth.

Day 4

Discard half the mixture from Day 3 and add:

White Wheat Flour 150g – 1 cup

Water 100g – ¾ cup

Lactic acid should really start to develop. This will inhibit mould and bad bacteria from developing. Notice the traces of mixture on the sides of the bowl, where the leaven has risen after being fed, peaked and then dropped – ready to feed again.

Day 5

Discard half the mixture from Day 4 and add:

White Wheat Flour 150g – 1 cup

Water 100g – ¾ cup

By now the mixture should have sufficient vigour and for raising your bread. At this stage, you may want to build up the volume for a few more days, by adding equal quantities of flour and water, without discarding anything. This will give you enough starter to use in your baking, while still leaving enough to feed for the next bake. You will also reap the rewards of richer, more complex flavours.

Each time before you feed the culture you will find that it is more and more bubbly and yeasty/acid smelling and tasting, while after feeding it will go sweet tasting and flat. When you have this active, almost frothy, nutty, acidy culture than you’re ready. There are bakers who taste and make tasting notes at intervals throughout the day, and while you don’t need to go that far, it’s worth tasting your culture to understand what’s going on.

Leaven factors

Various other things can influence the final culture, and you should bear in mind the following:

Flour

Strong white flour is typically used for making a leaven, but it is possible to add various percentages of stoneground wholemeal or rye flours which have more naturally occurring yeast and promote better bacteria activity and higher acid production

Hydration

There are basic two types of sourdough culture; stiff and liquid. A stiff culture such as Italian biga contains 50% to 60% of water in the mix. Liquid culture such as this one here contains half flour half water the mix. (100g / ¾ cup of flour and 100g / ½ cup of water). A stiff culture will have the tendency to develop more acetic acidity (more ‘sour’ taste), whereas liquid culture will have a milder taste due to the larger proportion of lactic acids in the dough.

Temperature

Higher temperatures around 30°C / 85°F, favour bacterial activity and the production of lactic acid, but make fermentation more difficult to control due to accelerated yeast activity. Lower temperatures favour the production of acetic acid and slow down fermentation activity. Temperatures around 23°C / 73°F seem to optimise fermentation activity and the production of aromas. Yeast activity also promotes lactic acid production.

Hygiene

To keep the sourdough culture in optimum condition, cleanliness is very important, otherwise the culture may be contaminated by undesirable bacteria or yeasts (keep it away from commercial yeast!) or even mould spores, all of which will add an unwholesome taste to the bread.

Salt

In general it is not necessary to add salt to a sourdough culture.

In advanced baking a tiny amount of salt (0.1%) can be beneficial for a culture with high protease activity, whereas amounts higher than 0.1% can inhibit the activity of some micro-organisms.

Maintaining the starter

In order to keep this crowd of ‘yeasty-beasties’ lively, you will have to treat the whole thing as a fridge pet and feed it at regular intervals.

You should feed the starter at least once a week if you’re not baking regularly (although the culture may survive unattended in the fridge for up to three weeks). The feeding ratio is 50% flour, 50% water. You can feed the whole thing, or if it has gone old and too acidy you can throw some away (up to 80% of it!) and feed the remainder.

Starter →Leaven→Dough→Loaf

1. Make the original starter culture and store it in the fridge.

2. 12 hours before your bread-making session (i.e. the night before), take the starter from the fridge

3. Take out 20% of your desired leaven quantity.In our recipe for 100g/1/3cup of leaven you would take out 20g/1 Tbsp starter.

4. Replenish the remaining starter and put it back in the fridge. If you took out 20g/1 Tbsp of starter, replace it with 20g/1 Tbsp of water and 20g/1 Tbsp of flour.

5. Make the leaven. This is made of: 20% starter + 40% flour + 40% water

6. In our recipes, for 100g/1/3cup of leaven, feed your 20g/1 Tbsp starter with 40g/3 Tbsp od water and 40g/4 Tbsp of flour.

7. Leave the leaven to ripen for about 8-12 hours. You can test by dropping a blob of it in warm water – if it floats, it’s ready. It should be bubbly, smelling sweetly and slightly acidy – almost like yoghurt. (Note: this is the liquid leaven we’re talking about. A stiff leaven should smell more acidic.)

8. Mix your leaven in Step 1 with all the other ingredients to make a dough and follow the rest of the Seven Steps

Watch the magic happen!!!

Managing Your Time – Three Modes of Baking

To ensure you stay in charge of your schedule, and don’t become a slave to your dough, we offer three baking modes:

1. The Straight Run

2. Fridge Fermentation

3. Fridge Proving

If you’ve never baked before, we suggest you start with The Straight Run. That allows you to focus on the techniques of kneading, shaping, cutting and baking. The second two modes simply offer different ‘Flexi’ points at which to press Pause in The Seven Steps, using a process known as retardation of the dough.

Once you are happy with the Straight Run, try Fridge Fermentation or retardation (please see Essential Baking Terms – Retardation). It’s exactly the same process, but you can press Pause in the middle while you to go away and do other things. Rising dough in the fridge is called retardation, because it slows fermentation.

Then, when you’re happy with Fridge Fermentation, you can go on to Fridge Proving. This offers two points to press Pause, and even greater flexibility in your schedule. It means you can, for example, ferment your dough in the fridge, shape your loaves, put them back in the fridge overnight and bake them in the morning.

All the modes of baking follow the exact same Seven Steps developed by The Artisan Bakery School. The only difference between each mode is which Flexi point you choose to press Pause, slowing down the essential process of fermentation, which is what gives sourdough all its character and strength

The Straight Run:

Please use one of our basic bread recipes.

Follow Steps 1-7, allowing around 3 to 4 hours for the bulk fermentation in Step 2. After Step 3 (Scaling, Pre-shaping and Bench rest) and Step 4 (Shaping the dough) you should allow around 3 hours for proving in Step 5.

It’s roughly a seven hour run from Step 1 to the end of Step 7 (Baking).

Example:

Step 1: Start mixing and kneading: 10.00am – finish 10.15am

Step 2: Rest dough for 3 hours until 1.15pm – Fold the dough twice, first at 10.45am, second at 12.15pm

Step 3: Cut the dough into individual loaves sizes and pre-shape it 1.15pm to 1.30pm

Step 4: Shape the dough from 1.30pm to 1.35pm

Step 5: Prove the dough for 3 to 4 hours from 1.35pm to 4.35pm

Step 6: Decorate and cut the dough from 4.35pm to 4.40pm

Step 7: Bake the loaf from 4.40pm to 5.10

Fridge Fermentation:

Please use one of the basic bread recipes.

After Step 1, slow the fermentation down in Step 2 by putting the dough in the fridge (5°C / 40°F) to rise. It takes a minimum of 24 hours (i.e. overnight) for this, but you can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 100 hours (4 days). When you want to bake, take as much dough as you need out of the fridge and follow Steps 3-7.

Example:

Step 1: Monday 10.00am – Mix and knead the dough. For this example, we’ll say you mix 2100g of dough. Finish 10.15am.

Step 2: Let the dough rest in the fridge. Fold the dough once in 24 hour period and return it to the fridge.

Step 3: Tuesday 5.00pm – Take 700g of dough and put the rest back into the fridge. Gently pre-shape the 700g of dough and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Tuesday 5.30pm – Shape the dough

Step 5: Tuesday 5.35pm – Prove the dough in a warm place for up to 3 hours.

Step 6: Tuesday 8.35pm – Decorate and score the dough

Step 7: Tuesday 8.40pm – Bake the loaf in a pre-heated oven from 8.40pm to 9.10pm

Note: You can bake two more 700g loaves from the fridge dough, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday or Friday even. Wonderful artisan breads on tap!

Fridge Proving:

Please use one of the basic bread recipes.

After Step 1, do Step 2, rising in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Remove from fridge and do Steps 3 and 4 (scaling, pre-shaping, resting, shaping). Return shaped loaves to fridge for Step 5 (proving) for another 8-12 hours. Remove from fridge, score and decorate ( Step 6) and put straight into a hot oven – Step 7.

The advantage here is that you can make a big batch of dough at the beginning of the week, and shape one loaf every evening to prove overnight and bake each morning for the rest of the week! The flavour of the bread will be quite mild on Monday, and by the last one, on Sunday, you’ll have a really characterful sourdough taste.

Example:

Step 1: Monday 7.00pm – Mix and knead the dough. For this example, we’ll say you mix 2100g of dough. Finish 7.15pm.

Step 2: Let the dough rest in the fridge. Fold the dough once, sometime Tuesday morning and return to the fridge.

Step 3: Tuesday 7.00pm – Take 700g of dough and place the rest back into the fridge. Gently pre-shape the 700g of dough and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Tuesday 7.30pm – Shape the dough

Step 5: Tuesday 7.35pm – Place the dough into a tin or a banneton. Put the banneton inside a plastic bag and return it to the fridge.

Step 6: Wednesday 8am – Turn the oven on. Decorate and cut the dough

Step 7: Wednesday 8.10am – Bake the loaf from 8.10am to 8.45 or 8.55am if you prefer darker and harder crusts.

I find this method the most time efficient. You make your bread with only 20 minutes hands-on; the rest of the work is all done in the fridge or in the oven!

Note: You can bake two more 700g loaves from the remaining fridge dough, one on Thursday and one on Friday and have fresh, top quality artisan bread whenever you want it.

The Seven Steps

Time, Temperature and Techniques

Valid for all the recipes

1. Measuring and kneading

2. First rise, folding and ‘Flexi Point’ number one!

3. Scaling, pre-shaping and bench-resting  

4. Shaping the dough – ‘Flexi Point’ number two!

5. Proving

6. Scoring and decorating – your signature

7. Baking

Step 1: Measuring and kneading

1. Using digital scales, weigh all the ingredients precisely. 1ml water = 1g water (1oz = 1floz) so weigh your water too.

2. Put the water (in cold seasons it should be warm water) in a large bowl and add the leaven.  If it’s ready, the leaven should float. Add the flour, natural leaven and salt. Mix well, until there are no lumps. Knead for five minutes.

3. To test flour hydration and gluten development, do the ‘window check’ – pinch a bit of dough and stretch it outwards.

4. If doing the Straight Run Schedule test the temperature of the dough – it should be 25°C – 77°F. If it is cooler than that place it in a warm place to rise. If it is warmer than recommended than place it in a cool place until it calms down to the required temperature.

Under developed dough breaks easily

Properly kneaded dough will be smooth and will stretch without breaking

Step 2: First rise, folding and Flexi Point 1

1. Put the dough in a clean, oiled bowl. If you are doing the Straight Run, cover with a cloth and leave this in a warm place to rise for 3 to 4 hours, folding after the first hour as shown in the pictures below. Then go straight to Step 3.

2. Folding is often referred to as ‘punching down’ or ‘knocking back’, but there is no need to be so rough! Simply stretch the dough away from you and fold it back in towards you, then turn it around and repeat until you have folded it in four times – think of it as north, south, east, west.Finally turn the whole cushion over and return to the bowl. Folding helps redistribute the heat, gas and food for the yeasts.

Flexi Point 1

If you are doing the Fridge Fermentation or the Fridge Proving, put the bowl into a loose plastic bag and place it in the fridge (this is the retardation process). You will need to fold it once every 24 hours, as described in 2. above, and put it back in the fridge.

3. Fridge Fermentation and Fridge Proving Methods – Leave the dough in the fridge for a total minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of four days (about 100 hours). The longer you leave it the more developed the dough will be.

Experiment with timings and see what type of bread you like best. Shorter times give a softer crumb and milder taste. Longer times give a more resilient crumb and a stronger taste.

Step 3: Scaling, pre-shaping and bench rest

Unless you are doing the Straight Run, take your dough out of the fridge. 

On the Straight Run, check your dough has developed sufficiently – it should have risen considerably, and feel very loose and puffy to the touch.

1. Cut and measure amount you want to use and gently pre-shape it into a ball. This shaping is soft and quite loose, using a chafing technique* to encourage a smooth membrane to appear on the surface. If the dough is very wet or sticky, use a little flour on your hands and the surfaces.

2. Leave the pre-shaped dough on your worktop to rest for 15 minutes. This is called bench-rest and allows the gluten strands to relax. If the dough is weak (sloppy) it will need less time to rest and tighter pre-shaping. If it is stronger (elastic) than it will need looser pre-shaping and a little longer rest.

  • Chafing means rotating and stretching the dough downwards with your palms and gently tucking it under itself around the edges as shown on the picture below so that it forms a ball with a smooth outer membrane.

Step 4: Shaping and Flexi Point 2

1. Take your pre-shaped loaf and complete the shaping. For a boule (round ball) simply tighten the structure by pulling gently down, up and under, tucking the dough in on itself until it reaches the desired tension – without bursting the membrane. Set on a baking tray (dusted with semolina) to prove. Generally, as in pre-shaping, weaker doughs need more tightening than those with stronger gluten structures.

2. For a batard, form a boule as above, turn it upside down, flatten it slightly then roll into a sausage. Turn it over so that the seam is up and form a Cornish pasty, pinching to seal the seam, and mould out into a sausage shape, finally setting it seam-side down on a baking tray.

The sequence below shows how to shape a batard for proving in a banneton. This is particularly useful for fragile or wetter doughs that need extra support while proving in order not to ‘sprawl’.

Flatten and de-gas the dough

Fold the dough two thirds from the top and towards you.

Seal the the seam where the dough joins.

Stretch the sides and…

… fold them on top of each other. 

Notice how the dough tightens and puffs up at the same time!

Fold again, from the top all the way to the base. 

Seal the seams and tighten the loose ends by folding them inwards. 

Place the dough, with the seam* UP, into a banneton.

*The seam is where the dough joints are.

Flexi Point 2

At this point you can shape your loaf, place it in a well floured banneton, put the banneton inside a plastic bag and return it to the fridge to prove for up to 12 hours. This is an especially useful timing device as the dough will be ready to bake as soon as you take it out of the fridge. All you need to do then is skip Step 5 and go straight to Step 6 (decorating) and Step 7 (baking).

Step 5: Proving

1. Place the shaped loaf, whether on its baking tray, in its tin, or in its banneton, in a warm place.

2. The picture above shows our home-built proving cupboard, but you could use an airing cupboard, or your oven (heat it up to lowest setting then switch it off before putting loaves in!). Always avoid setting your loaf on a direct source of heat (Aga/Rayburn).

3. The proving time can be anything from 3 to 4 hours until the loaf is ready for baking.

How to judge when a loaf is ready to bake?

• The time – loaves that have been proved in a fridge as in the Fridge Proving Schedule, if placed in a warm place, usually take around half hour to warm up and then you can place them in the hot oven.

• The look – puffy looking dough that looks like marshmallow on the surfice is ready for decorating and baking.

• The size – the dough will usually rise by one quarter of its original size.

• The indentation test: this gives the best information. Press the dough in various places with one finger. If the dough feels tough and the indentations spring right back, the dough is still immature. If they spring half-way and the dough feels quite puffy, then the dough is ready for the next step.

Note: It is better to under-prove than to over-prove your dough.

Step 6: Scoring and decorating

1. If your loaf has been rising in a basket or banneton, turn it out onto a prepared baking tray/sheet. If you are following Fridge Proving, you can do this straight from the fridge.

2. If using, apply glaze (egg wash, oil etc.) with a brush. Scatter surface with seeds to stick to egg wash, if desired.

3. Alternatively, dredge with flour.

4. Using cookie cutters helps give a consistent ‘signature’ but take care not to press too deeply and deflate the dough.

5. You can also score the loaf surface using a a very sharp blade (lame or grignette). When scoring take care to start lightly. It is better to first make a shallow incision and then score more deeply with several more consecutive cuts, thus avoiding dragging and pulling the dough with your blade.

Scoring a loaf turned out of a round banneton. Scoring evens out the way the dough rises in the oven (oven spring) and prevents unsightly bulges! It also makes the crumb lighter and airier. Score up to 3cm deep.

Various cuts for oblong loaves

Really short cuts are decorative and don’t have to be very deep

Various cuts for round loaves

Step 7: Baking

Scoring Tip: The baguette on the left was not scored. Note how much airier the crumb is in the scored baguette on the right.

1. Place your loaves on the top shelf of your pre-heated oven for 11 minutes at 240°C / 464°F before reducing the temperature and turning the loaves around to ensure even browning. If you’re using a baking stone, heat this up with the oven for about half an hour.

2. The length of time in the oven will depend on the dough, and the size of the loaf. A large, 800g / 1lb 12oz dough weight will take 30 – 35 minutes total. Larger loaves need to be baked longer and more slowly. Half way through the bake reduce the temperature in the oven to around 210°C / 410°F.

3. During baking keep an eye on the loaves. If you notice that your loaves are not colouring enough than the baking temperature should be increased. If the loaves are getting brown too quickly, the baking temperature should be lowered.

4. To judge if bread is baked, check if it is browned all over, test the crispness of the crust and finally tap on the bottom to see if it sounds hollow. Your loaf will weigh between 10% and 20% lighter when it is baked, due to evaporation. Remember that bread continues cooking for a while when it first comes out of the oven.

5. Place it on a wire rack to cool so that it doesn’t go soggy.

The sound of success is the ‘singing’ loaf – the sound of crackling as the crust cools.

Music to the baker’s ears!

Storing

Storing bread is a tricky business.

Sourdough breads, due to acids in the leaven, last better than ordinary breads. They will easily last up to six days.

Most bread is best eaten the day it is baked and regular baking is better than resorting to factory breads full of fungicide etc, but for emergencies / convenience, all the recipes given here freeze well.

Bread keeps well in linen or unsealed plastic bags, although the crust stays crisper if you store it in paper bags. After that – and there is a lot to be said for the glories of buttered toast or French toast.

Festive Bread Recipes

The most important thing for a baker to develop is a feel for the dough; its degree of fermentation, its pliability and its elasticity. Once you have mastered this, the rest comes naturally.

Sooner or later you will want to start experimenting with different ingredients, so we have given you a few of our own favourites here to play with.

None of these recipes are set in stone; they will all produce different results according to which basic dough you choose and what flour you use to make it with. Once you get the hang of kneading in the different ingredients, the only limit is your own imagination! You can adjust the combinations and the proportions of ingredients so long as you remember not to over-crowd the dough, which will prevent it from rising properly and produce a very heavy bread.

Important to Remember: while basic dough will keep in the fridge for up to five days, dough made with extra ingredients will only keep in the fridge for up to two days.

Note: The percentage for extra ingredients is in relation to the amount of flour and not the amount dough.

The Recipes

Please use the basic sourdough recipes from the begining of the book.

All the recipes will make two medium-sized loaves.

Apricot and Almond Bread with Cardamom

Use one of the basic doughs (White or Brown)

100g – apricots (diced) – 1 cup

100g – toasted almonds (chopped) – 1 cup

100g – raisins – 1 cup

Freshly ground seeds of 3 cardamom pods

Mix the fruit, nuts and ground cardamom seeds all together in a little bowl.

At the end of Step 1 flatten your dough and spread the fruit mixture evenly on top of it.

Fold the dough over on itself and keep folding the mixture in to the dough until you can knead it and all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Follow the other 6 steps exactly as in the main basic bread recipe.

Note: Using a fridge method for this type of bread, though possible, is not recommended.

Olive Bread

Basic white with olive oil dough

200g – kalamata or any other pitted olive (chopped in half) – 2 cups

Mixed herbs to taste

Crushed black pepper to taste (1tsp)

At the end of the Step 1, once you finished kneading the dough, flatten your dough and spread the olives evenly on top of it.

Fold the dough over on itself and keep folding the olives in to the dough until you can knead it. You’ll find that the olives are very slippery customers; they will be trying to pop out of the dough all the time, but with a bit of patience you’ll find them all a home!

Follow the other 6 steps exactly as in the main basic bread recipe.

Note: Using a fridge method for this type of bread, though possible, is not recommended.

Cocoa Bliss

Basic white dough

100g – chocolate – 1½ cup

25g – cocoa ¼ cup

100g – dried cherries – 1 cup

50g – toasted cashews – ½ cup

25g – honey – 2tbsp

1 tsp – freshly ground coriander seeds

Finely chop the chocolate and add the cocoa powder, cherries, crumbled cashew nuts and ground coriander. Mix all those ingredients in a bowl.

At the end of the Step 1 flatten the dough, pour the honey over it and spread all the other ingredients on top of it. Fold the dough over on itself and keep folding the mixture in to the dough until you can knead it and all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Follow the other 6 steps exactly as in the main basic bread recipe.

Note: Using a fridge method for this type of bread, though possible, is not recommended.

Beer Bread with Figs, Ginger & Fennel

Beer Dough

540g – white flour – 3 1/3 cups

100g – leaven – 1/3 cup

350g – beer – 1½ cups & 2 Tbsp

12g – Salt – 2 tsp

Mix the ingredients as in Step 1, replacing the water with beer.

Final Recipe

The beer dough from above

200g – dried figs (stems removed & halved) – 2 cups

20g – finely chopped fresh ginger – 2 Tbsp

10g – fennel seeds – 1 Tbsp

25g – black onion seeds – 2 Tbsp

Fresh rosemary to taste

At the end of the Step 1 flatten your dough and spread the figs, fennel, ginger, onion seeds and chopped rosemary on top of it. Fold the dough over on itself and keep folding the mixture in to the dough until you can knead it and all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Follow the other 6 steps exactly as in the main basic bread recipe. If using a fridge method then use four times less yeast.

Decorate with egg wash – beat an egg and brush on top of the dough. Sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds.

Note: Using a fridge method for this type of bread, though possible, is not recommended.

Seeded Honey Rye

Basic white with rye dough

200g - seed mix* - 2 cups

60g – honey – 4 Tbsp

  • For a seed mix of your choice please see Adding Seeds to Your Recipes

Mix the honey or barley malt into the basic rye dough in Step 1.

Once you have finished kneading, flatten your dough and spread the seeds on top of it. Fold the dough over on itself and keep folding the seeds in to the dough until you can knead it and all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Follow the other 6 steps exactly as in the main basic bread recipe.

Note: Using a fridge method for this type of bread, though possible, is not recommended.

Spiced Prune and Walnut Bread

Basic dough – white, brown or rye

125g – prunes (chopped) – 1 ¼ cup

125g – walnuts (chopped) – 1 ¼ cup

½ tsp – cumin seeds (freshly ground)

30g – honey – 2 Ttbsp

Add honey to the dough at the beginning of the Step 1, when you’re mixing the basic ingredients.

At the end of Step 1 flatten your dough and spread the prunes, walnuts, cumin and cardamom evenly on top of it. Fold the dough over on itself and keep folding the mixture in to the dough until you can knead it and all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Follow the other 6 steps exactly as in the main basic bread recipe.

Note: Using a fridge method for this type of bread, though possible, is not recommended.

Herby Garlic Bread

Basic white dough

30g – finely chopped fresh garlic (raw, or sauteed for a more mellow flavour) – 10 cloves

1 tsp or to taste – mixed dried herbs

At the end of the Step 1, once you finished kneading the dough, flatten your dough and spread the garlic and herbs on top of it. Fold the dough over on itself and keep folding the mixture in to the dough until you can knead it and all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Follow the other 6 steps exactly as in the main basic bread recipe.

For more recipes please see our book A Million and One Original Bread Recipes.

Essential Tips for Better Baking

Life in a mixing bowl (and how to control it!)

Combining your four ingredients produces a variety of powerful reactions. Once they encounter water, the two flour proteins, gliadin and glutenin, begin to form long strands of gluten that give shape and volume to bread – these are visible to the naked eye, and have an elastic quality. Given enough time and the right temperature, the bacteria and the enzymes start to work with the yeast, producing carbon dioxide which inflates the dough and various acids and alcohol, which add taste.

Controlling Taste

• The taste is probably the most important thing to cultivate when making bread, and simply put, the longer the bulk fermentation time (rising), the more taste will be developed. The optimal temperature for fermenting the dough is around 23°C, and each dough has its own optimal time for fermentation. The lower the temperature of the dough, the longer it will take to ferment.

• For getting better taste you will have to give longer time to the dough. The longer the dough has the more developed it will become. Also the flour releases the taste and the bread is far more digestible.

• By reducing the dough temperature in our fridge method, we allow a much longer time for the dough to develop. Using the fridge method also adds time flexibility to your bread making so that you can fit it into your busy life.

• Quicker loaves (from 2 to 3 hours fermentation) require more kneading to develop the gluten strands in the beginning, because they won’t have time to do it themselves later on. There will be less flavour, weaker textures, and a shorter shelf-life, but the volume will usually be high.

• Slower loaves (anything from 4 to 88 hours fermentation) demand less initial kneading and have more taste, chewier texture, better looks and a longer shelf life. The longer fermentation allows the sugars to develop further, creating a more caramelised crust.

Controlling Crumb, Texture and Size

• The longer the dough has to develop, the better the crumb texture and the volume of the bread will be.

• Mixing, kneading, folding and shaping techniques (see Essential Techniques) help strengthen and organise the network of gluten strands in the dough. This network is responsible for holding the gases produced by the yeast, and thus maintaining the volume – i.e. no bursting bubbles.

• To further develop the gluten strands, we first knead the dough, let it rest (ferment) for a number of hours, folding it a number of times during fermentation in order to strengthen the dough, redistribute the yeast and re-balance the temperature in the dough.

• Salt will make for chewier crumb. The amount of salt in your recipe will influence the quality of your crumb (2% is ideal).

• A dough with a strong, well-developed gluten structure will be both extensible (the dough’s ability to stretch) and elastic (the ability of the dough to spring back to its original shape).

Controlling Crust

• Sugars present in flour and malt, combined with salt, will give the crust colour and crunchiness. Some flours are richer in natural sugars and even white bread made from those flours will be quite dark in appearance

• Time: The longer the fermentation time, the more sugars will be created on the surface of the dough and the darker the finished loaf will be

• Salt helps make crunchy crusts. The amount of salt in your recipe will influence the quality of your crust.

• High baking temperatures and steam in the oven will give depth and crispness to the crust

• Different finishes – flour, seeds, egg wash, honey or oil all produce different crust characteristics. Experiment to see what works best for you.

Controlling Shape

• Once you have perfected the shaping of your loaf, you will need to control what happens to it in the oven, when the heat produces a final burst of energy from the dough and, ideally, ‘oven spring’ – the extra rise you get from a well-proven loaf.

• A very important aspect of shape, crust and crumb control is the ‘scoring’. Scoring (see Essential Techniques) has the function of directing the energies left within the mature and proven dough, and avoiding random, clumsy bursts or bulges of dough.

• For crusty, chewy breads, hotter and faster baking is better than cooler and slower baking.

• The main reasons for bread splitting are either it was too tightly shaped, or it was under-proved.

• If a loaf is under-baked it will still be soggy inside, if it is over-baked it will be too dry in its crumb and crust and it will have a shorter shelf life.

• Steaming makes loaves grow bigger and make crunchier crust. We do not recommend this method in the domestic ovens that are not made to cope with too much steam.

Essential Techniques

You will find the links to very good videos showing all the techniques mentioned here at the end of this book.

Shaping

It is vital to learn the skill of shaping the dough before proving it. Shaping is about organising the gluten network to form a smooth, tight skin on the outer surface of the dough and a loaf that will retain its shape through the last proving stage, as well as survive when faced with the extreme oven temperatures. The result of good shaping is that the dough will capture the gases from fermentation by stretching, and not breaking under their pressure, giving us a well-rounded, tight and voluminous final loaf.

Four key reasons for shaping the dough properly:

• better look

• better crust

• better crumb

• better volume

This stage is often the most overlooked, and we recommend you practise as much as you can to produce the perfect boules (balls) and batards (oblongs). Notice that shaping is still just as important when you are baking bread in a tin, because it’s the tightening of the dough structure that makes all the difference to a well-risen loaf.

Chafing

Chafing means rotating and stretching the dough downwards with your palms and gently tucking it under itself around the edges so that it forms a ball with a very smooth outer membrane.

Proving

This is the ‘final rise’ of the shaped loaf. As a rule you will need to 'catch' your loaf at around 80% of its maximum rise. The remaining 20% will rise in the oven. If you place a 100% risen loaf into the oven it will rise over its limits, bubbles within it will be bursting and the loaf will collapse as the result.

If the loaf has been over-proved, there will be excessive gas production, and the small bubbles of air will start to join up, forming hollow channels that undermine the gluten structure and again, your loaf will collapse.

It is better to put an under-proved loaf in the oven than an over-proved one, but in either case you must pay special attention to the scoring part of the finishing process.

Scoring

Perhaps the most important aspect of decoration in many loaves, scoring also has the function of directing the energies left within the mature and proven dough, and avoiding random, unsightly bursts or bulges of dough.

Scoring the loaves gives:

• pleasing appearance

• control of crust break

• even crumb

• better expansion of bread

• identity – your own signature on the loaf

Steaming

Some people choose to put a tray of water in the bottom of their ovens to create steam. This results in:

• better volume

• crisper, thicker crust

• better overall look (no unseemly bursts)

• better crumb

The steam will create a hot and humid environment for your loaf (in domestic ovens mainly at the top part of the oven). The humidity coats the loaf with moisture and stops the crust from hardening before the loaf can complete its expansion. The steam helps the gelatinization of starches in the crust, creating extra sugars on the surface and a crisp and golden crust.

Warning: We do not recommend this method for domestic ovens as they are not built to handle too much steam. If you do use steam it is entirely at your own discretion.

Essential Baking Terms

Fermentation

Fermentation is all about increasing the volume of the dough and increasing its acid levels to improve the flavour, without necessarily making it a sourdough. Mastering fermentation is the key skill in bread-making as it determines the look, taste and keeping qualities of the loaf. Fermentation gives the yeast, enzymes and bacteria time to do their best work. They will produce carbon dioxide, various acids and alcohol, strengthen the gluten strands, and add gas to the dough and character to its taste.

Over-fermentation means your final loaf will not have so much volume. When the dough is baked the crust will brown faster due to sugars caramelizing too quickly and the scores will not open properly. If fermentation is too short, the dough will not be aerated properly, it will lack strength, the baked colour will be dull and again, the scores will not open well.

Retardation

Retarding the dough is one of the best ways to control fermentation. If the temperature is lower than the optimum 23°C / 73°F then the fermentation will slow down. The lower the temperature, the longer the fermentation time will be (as shown in our Fridge Fermentation and Fridge Proving modes of baking). Retardation can produce excellent results as, while it slows down the action of the yeast, it gives the enzymes and bacteria more time to work on matururing the dough. Its disadvantage is that if you leave the dough too long to ferment, the protease enzyme will start to break down the precious gluten strands (your dough’s muscle) and the taste and volume of your loaf will suffer.

Hydration

Hydration is also vital in controlling fermentation. Dryer doughs ferment at a slower rate. However, dryer doughs tend to develop a more acid taste than wetter doughs. Also dryer doughs tend to have stronger gluten structure and therefore denser crumb.

The yeast must be regulated to control how fast dough rises, but the bacteria, primarily, determine how well your dough will mature and how good the bread will taste.

Using a natural leaven helps speed up fermentation and increases the number of beneficial bacteria and enzymes thus ensuring a production of excellent final dough. Because of the way different bread-enhancing bacteria react to heat and moisture, dough will have more flavour if it is fermented at temperature around 23°C / 73°F because more lactic acid is produced. Taste can also be improved through more hydration. On the other hand, we will have more acidity if we ferment the dough at the lower temperatures between 10°C / 50°F and 18°C / 64°F.

Bench-rest

Allows the gluten strands to relax and re-align, making it much, much easier for you when it comes to the final shaping. It is really worth taking the time to perform this step.

FIFO

If you are making a whole batch of loaves, remember the order you weigh and pre-shape them in by arranging them on a surface and applying FIFO: First In First Out. (This is a mnemonic for baking order, but applies equally to weighing and shaping, simply because the first portion you weigh will be the most relaxed to start pre-shaping with.)

Maillard Effect.

The colour of the crust comes from the Maillard reaction, which causes changes to proteins and caramelisation of the sugars. The longer a dough has had to ferment, the more intense the Maillard effect will be.

Adding Seeds to Your Recipes

Seeds from bottom to top – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, blue poppy, millet and brown linseed

For added flavour, texture and goodness we add seeds to our breads. They need to be soaked prior to mixing and kneading the dough. Soaking the seeds brings flavour out of them, makes them more digestible, stops them from taking water out of your dough and softens them up so that they don’t cut through the air bubbles within the dough.

For each recipe, soak up to 4 types of seeds. Put the seeds into a bowl, pour water over your mix, add salt to taste, stir and cover. Soaking time is minimum 2 hours and up to 16 hours. If the time is shorter than 6 hours you can add hot water instead of cold.

Seed Varieties

These are some of the seeds that you can combine according to your taste to use in the marked recipes below:

Flax/Linseed seeds

Sunflower seeds

Sesame seeds

Rolled oats

Black onion seeds

Poppy seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Millet

Instead of soaking you may want to lightly toast your seeds for that nutty toasted taste.

When decorating with seeds, beat an egg and brush the surface of the dough with it and then sprinkle the surface with a one or several types of seeds.

Seed Combinations

You can buy already mixed seeds, but we suggest you make your own mix of seeds that you like in the proportions that you may like. For instance to make a kilogram of a seed mix you may want to combine following:

Flax/Linseed Seeds 20%

Sunflower Seeds 30%

Sesame Seeds 30%

Pumpkin Seeds 20%

or

Millet 30%

Black Onion Seeds 20%

Rolled Oats 30%

Sesame Seeds 20%

or

Flax/Linseed Seeds 20%

Sunflower Seeds 40%

Sesame Seeds 20%

Pumpkin Seeds 20%

or

Rolled Oats 20%

Black Onion Seeds 10%

Pumpkin Seeds 35%

Millet 35%

…and so on according to your preferences…

Ingredients

Flour

We work mainly with organic heritage flour. This is flour that has not been meddled with!  It comes from ancient wheat varieties and varieties of wheat that have not been super-hybridised in order to get higher yields. Our customers who have problems eating mass-produced bread often tell us that they enjoy our loaves  without any digestive troubles.

Otherwise we recommend organic strong bread flours.

Advantages of organic heritage flours over modern common flour are:

Health benefits – simpler proteins make them more digestible.

Tastier – richer, earthier, more rewarding all round!

Supporting ethical food production

Disadvantages:

Simpler, more primitive proteins produce less dynamic gluten, so loaves tend not to rise as high 

Cost – until ethical production becomes the norm, the cost of farming these ‘specialist’ flours will be higher

Water

All life depends on water. In general, the more water you add, the livelier your dough will be and the airier the crumb in the final loaf. Some breads demand up to 85% hydration (water) in comparison to the flour weight, but 60% to 75 % is more common. We believe it is important to use mineral or filtered water in baking, as the chlorine and chemicals present in tap water negatively affect the yeast.

Yeast

Yeasts are spores that belong to the fungi kingdom. Wild yeasts (Saccharomyces exiguus) are naturally present in the growing grain, the flour and the air. A mixture of flour and water left on its own will eventually start to ferment thanks to the yeast. Baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), if you ever want to use it, was first produced commercially about 200 years ago, and can be purchased in blocks of putty-like substance from supermarkets or local bakeries. Some manufacturers are now using GMO ingredients to make baker’s yeast – do check!  The acids present in wild yeast sourdough have the effect of moderating the proteins in the flour, making them more digestible. They also improve the bioavailability of minerals and vitamins in wholemeal flours.

Salt

If yeast is the accelerator in dough, then salt serves the function of the brakes. It controls the activity of the yeast, strengthens the dough structure, and of course adds essential flavour.

Last Note

Happy Baking!

Thank you for purchasing this book!

If you enjoyed this book and would like to share your experience of reading it, please leave your feedback.

Your comments are greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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This breakthrough book from The Artisan Bakery School not only shows you how to make great breads, but how to successfully develop original recipes of your own.

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An inspiration for adventurous bakers of any level!

Artisan Bread for Beginners

Artisan bread is often sourdough, but beginners can achieve equally impressive results without using a sourdough culture. The secret is in a process called retardation – or ‘slo-mo’dough. This book shows you how to use your fridge so you can fit baking authentic artisan bread into even the most hectic lifestyle.

It includes:

  • Our proven Seven Steps method for reliable results every time

  • Illustrations of all the steps, backed up with clear explanations

  • Insights into the three Ts: timing, temperature and technique

  • Tips on improving the look, taste and texture of your loaves.

  • Ideas for using fruits, nuts and seeds to create an impressive selection of wonderful, original breads

  • Original recipes developed by The Artisan Bakery School

A handbook for anyone reaching for a real life-skill.

Gluten-Free, Gourmet Friendly Breads

Taught by two experienced bakers and teachers this book shows you how to make the kind of gourmet-fabulous breads that everyone at your table will want to share, from soft sandwich loaves to crispy baguettes to rich, spiced breads or cashew nut sourdough.

*Pizzas for parties, fougasse for sharing, pitta for filling, and little socca nibbles to enjoy as snacks, are all artisanal creations from the richly rewarding world of naturally gluten-free baking.

*Create your own custom flour blends to get exactly the artisan breads you’ve always wanted. 

*Learn how to make your loaves rise in a variety of ways, including using your own wild yeast leaven.

  • Discover a wide variety of naturally gluten-free flours milled from beans, grains, nuts and vegetable starches.

*Learn which natural seeds and plant fibres can create elastic, chewy crumb, without chemicals or additives.

*Get practical tips on buying, storing and even milling your own flours.

*Be inspired and equipped to experiment with new breads of your own.

The truly foodie approach to naturally gluten-free breads.

Perfect Pizza

Friday nights are pizza nights at The Artisan Bakery School, where we sell wood fired pizzas for locals to take away. Our experience of making, shaping and baking great pizza, and teaching these skills to our students, is now available in this short, fully illustrated handbook for budding pizzaristas.

Discover:

  • The Seven Steps to making the perfect pizza dough

  • How to manage refrigeration so your dough will wait for you, not the other way around

  • Techniques for shaping your dough into perfect circles without a rolling pin

  • Tips for creating your own signature sauce

  • Hints on how best to dress your pizza

  • The secrets of the tarte flambée

  • How to get the very best out of your home gas or electric oven, for crispy crust and delectably tender dough

A handbook for anyone reaching for a real life-skill.

Baking Low Gluten & Heritage Breads

As the tide of people suffering with sensitivities to modern wheat and gluten continues to rise, the need for a fresh approach to baking bread is obvious.

Through clear text and pictures, this book shows you how to bake beautiful, nutritious artisan loaves using low gluten and heritage flours and a natural, wild yeast leaven. The Artisan Bakery School’s Seven Steps method makes the baking ultra simple, while the gourmet recipes will inspire you to show off to your friends.

Learn:

  • Why heritage flours are better for your body

  • How to make a range of rich and characterful breads in seven easy steps

  • How to make and manage consistently healthy wild yeast starters

  • Tips for improving the looks, taste and texture of every bread you bake

  • How to choose, source and combine various heritage flours

  • To control the three Ts: timing, temperature, technique

  • The best ways to use seeds

If you care about what you eat, this book is for you!

The Microbakery Blueprint

This book is a practical guide to turning your bread-making into a successful microbakery business. Focusing on Dragan and Penny’s start-up bakery in the tiniest house in Oxford, UK, and going on to the success of The Artisan Bakery School in Devon, The Microbakery Business Blueprint gives all the nitty-gritty details of running a baking business from home.

  • The local legal requirements: Environmental Health, licences etc.

  • How to start trading with minimum initial investment – just one oven!

  • Getting a handle on finances, branding and marketing

  • How to cost and price your breads

  • Business development and the importance of growing organically

  • Setting a baking schedule to match your stamina

If you like the idea of being able to manage your own time, earning a living ethically and contributing to your local community, this book is for you.

For details on how to make good bread, see the Artisan Bakery School companion volumes: Artisan Bread for Beginners or Baking Real Sourdough Bread, A Million and One Original Bread Recipes and Baking Low Gluten Sourdough Bread.

The Micropizzeria Blueprint

The Micropizzeria Blueprint, and its companion volume Perfect Pizza, are the most recent books from The Artisan Bakery School. Together, they show how almost “anyone with a kitchen and a phone” can learn to be a pizzarista, and run a takeaway pizza business from home, or from a mobile pizza van. Practical advice includes:

  • Compliance with local legal requirements

  • The basics of finances, branding and marketing

*Choosing and using your oven: wood fired or professional stone-baker

  • Costing initial outlay on equipment

  • Planning your work area

  • Costing and pricing your pizzas

  • Lists of equipment and suppliers

Having built a wood fired oven, Dragan and Penny now sell takeaway pizza from The Artisan Bakery School every week and it’s becoming increasingly popular. Properly made pizza is certainly ‘fast’ food, but it can also be healthy, exciting, ethically produced and a runaway success for you too. This book shows you how!

About The Artisan Bakery School

The Artisan Bakery School is devoted to outstanding real breads and pizzas.

Run by Penny and Dragan at their 200-year old cottage in rural Devon, England, the School also serves the village of Sparkwell as a bakery / pizzeria. We have baked bread for our local gastronomic restaurant, ran by the winner of the UK Masterchef 2012, Anton Piotrowsky.

We are passionate about passing on the basic life-skill of baking real bread to as many people as possible; for their health, for their happiness, and because it’s great fun! We have taught students of every age from 3 to 83, from all over the world and every walk of life. We were also one of the first schools in the country to offer a Microbakery / Micropizzeria Business courses.

Our special interests are in heritage flours and heirloom techniques, including baking in a real wood fired oven, or using the ancient Croatian method of baking ‘under the bell’.

Dragan and Penny also run Pendragan Publishing and are authors of a number of fictional books.

We’d love to hear from you!

Contact Us

Like us on Facebook

[email protected]

To find out more about our one-day and residential courses, our woodfired pizza parties or our workshops-on-wheels, please visit:

www.theartisanbakeryschool.com

About Dragan

Dragan’s story

“My fascination with breadmaking was born of necessity in the mid seventies, when I first arrived in this country. The bread in England then was, and still largely is, fast to produce and chemically induced. No wonder that today we have such a huge number of people suffering from bread allergies.

Coming from a macho culture, barely able to fry an egg, I was forced to learn how to bake a decent loaf, just to survive.

But my really passionate quest for the perfect loaf began later on in my life. Wanting to learn absolutely everything about what makes dough work, I picked up tips from master bakers everywhere, as well as trying one thousand and one ways of making bread.

The answer was to ditch everything but the essentials (good flour, clean water, salt and yeast) and give it all plenty of time.

Today, to make my perfect loaf, I prefer to use heritage flours (or gluten free flour), coupled with the time-honoured method of long fermentation, which makes delicious and beautiful breads that are also good for health.

I use mainly sourdough retardation method because it is dead easy (15 minutes hands on) and produces the best tasting loaves. My dough takes between 12 and 144 hours to develop and each loaf is carefully hand-crafted. That’s why I call my loaves ‘artisan’.

My greatest pleasure is when people come to us saying that they can eat bread again, because properly fermented dough is easy to digest. Or our students telling us that after the course with us they have never bought another loaf of bread again!”

Apart from baking Dragan does magic shows for all ages and writes books for children.

About Penny

Penny was fortunate enough to have a mother and two grandmothers who were all great cooks, and happy to have their kids in the kitchen. The teaching came almost by osmosis.

As a three-year old Penny remembers coming in from the garden to poke a curious, muddy finger into a mesmerising pillow of white dough rising in a bowl and squeaking with guilty alarm at the grubby dent she had made. To her astonishment, the dent disappeared, just as her laughing mother said it would. Penny’s lifelong passion for creating good food made it natural for her to bake bread, but it wasn’t until she met Dragan that she really developed those skills.

The Rise of Real Bread Conference in 2009 was her first encounter with the artisan bakers, millers, farmers, scientists, ecologists, writers and activists that are fighting for a better loaf on Britain’s tables. It was a watershed moment.

Penny says “We can only change the way people bake and think about bread one person at a time. But if we do it often enough, for long enough, we will contribute to positive change. That’s our reason for being.

But the most fun part of The Artisan Bakery School is running the weekend courses. It’s all about making people feel at home, preparing something special for them at every meal, gathering round the table, or round the fire, enjoying a glass of wine and telling stories after dinner. You wouldn’t believe how many amazing tales our bakers have to tell!”

Apart from being a baker Penny is a professional copywriter and an author of a number of fictional books, both for children and adults.

Services

Dragan and Penny offer workshops and Skype consultations, at a fee, on any aspect of the book.

We also do book editing, translation and copywriting services.

Contact Us

[email protected]

www.theartisanbakeryschool.com

Useful Links

Here are some you tube links that will help you to understand the key technique of folding, pre-shaping and shaping the bread dough.

Also some tips on decorating and cutting.

Dividing and pre-shaping

Main bread-shaping techniques

Wet dough shaping

Shaping a round loaf

Shaping and cutting a batard

Shaping a batard

Great cuts!

Using stencils to decorate bread


Baking real Sourdough Bread

Baking Real Sourdough Bread Wild sourdough magic at your fingertips! Written by two passionate artisan bakers and teachers, this book dispels the myth that sourdough is difficult and time-consuming to make. It shows how to fit regular baking into even the craziest lifestyle by using an ordinary fridge and the principle of retardation – or ‘slo-mo’ dough. Packed with clear explanations and helpful photographs the book shows: * The Seven Steps to creating truly exceptional artisan loaves * How to create, manage and maintain a wild yeast leaven * How to choose and use the best flours * The secrets of long fermentation * Tips on improving the look, taste and texture of your loaves. * Insights on managing the three T’s: Timing, Temperature and Technique * How to bake sourdough that tastes the way you want it to – from milky to truly tart * Includes original recipes from The Artisan Bakery School. A handbook for anyone reaching for a real life-skill.

  • ISBN: 9781311611581
  • Author: Pendragan
  • Published: 2015-11-07 13:05:18
  • Words: 13566
Baking real Sourdough Bread Baking real Sourdough Bread