@v8pontiacgirl makes amazing sourdough but this loaf was getting just a little bit stale. For breakfast this morning I baked us French toast (made with eggs from her ducks and rested overnight to really soak in) and topped it with a simple maple-pecan caramel sauce. The rest become parmesan and fried garlic croutons that I can’t stop eating. Those dark crumbs are mainly fried garlic and I’m saving them to top rice or roasted squash puree, or something.
Light Friday lunch: fresh sourdough bread and roasted red pepper hummus! I’m still working on my baking, but am pleased to say that thisis the best hummus of my life. Just boil canned chickpeas with a bit of baking soda and it breaks them down and makes it perfectly creamy. Blend with garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, and s&p to taste, plus any other seasonings (this was about half a jar of peppers to one can of chickpeas).
I’ve been asked on occasion why Nords don’t include yeast in our bread recipes, yet make such delicious, flavourful bread. In Skyrim, we prefer using sourdough starter, where the wild yeast present in flour does the job for us. This recipe is my tried-and-tested favourite, and I usually make these lovely loaves twice a week. It is quite time consuming, so be sure to start at least 24 hours in advance.
For novice bakers, this may be a slight challenge that will take some time to get right, but persistence pays off! Be sure to use the best ingredients you can and follow the recipe closely. For best results, use a kitchen scale.
Note: I cultivated my own sourdough starter from scratch in January 2020, using only water, plain yoghurt, and strong wheat flour. This took a couple of weeks to activate, so if you’re keen on getting started on sourdough right away, you can always use prepackaged yeast or buy sourdough starter.
You will need:
300g strong white bread flour (the stronger the better), plus extra for dusting
150g spelt flour
150g rye flour
350g sourdough starter
180ml filtered water, at room temperature
10g caster sugar
10g table salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil, for greasing
Combine all the ingredients but the oil in a large mixing bowl, and knead until a moist, even dough forms. Depending on the weather and humidity, you may need to add more flour or water to get the right consistency- add only a tablespoon at a time if need be.
Turn your dough out onto a clean surface dusted well with flour. Knead well, turning the dough over often to make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Continue kneading for at least 5 minutes (preferably 10, depending on how much of an arm workout you can handle).
When your dough is firm, smooth and stretchy, form into a ball and dust lightly with flour. Put 2 tbsp vegetable oil into your mixing bowl, swirling it around to make sure the sides are covered. Pop your dough into the bowl, cover with cling wrap, and leave it in a warm place to rise. Sourdough does take a bit longer than regular bread to rise to double its size. In my experience, at least 2-3 hours in summer and up to 6 hours in winter (I generally put the bowl near a heater in winter).
When your dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a clean floured surface and knead vigorously again. The oil will have permeated the dough somewhat, so be sure to incorporate it all but avoid adding more flour than necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to your counter.
Once your dough has been knocked back (it should be a firm, smooth ball), pop it back in the bowl and leave it to rise to double in size again, and repeat the previous step. I do this at least twice if I’m pressed for time, but normally I do two proofings on the first day, leave the dough overnight on the counter (be sure to keep it covered!), and do a final proofing the next morning.
Before you start baking, decide on what size you want your loaf to be. This recipe can make two small loaves, but I prefer having one big round loaf. Whether you use a bread tin is up to you! At least one hour in advance, knock back your bread once more, shape it into the form you want, and leave it to rise once more until about 1.5x the original size (if you’re using a bread tin, do this before putting the dough in the tin and leave to rise while covered with cling wrap).
Preheat your oven to 200C/390F. When your dough is ready, dust the surface lightly with flour and use a sharp knife to score the surface (a blunt one will create a jagged surface that may let out more air, leading to flat, hard bread). I usually make a big cross or three horizontal scores across the surface, but just make sure that there is enough space for excess steam to escape from the bread evenly as it bakes.
Before putting the bread into the oven, sprinkle the surface with a tablespoon of cold water. This will help the surface get nice and crispy.
Bake for 35 minutes on the middle shelf, give or take, depending on how dark you like your bread crust. You’ll know the bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the bread from the oven and leave to cool for about 15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack (especially important if you’re baking in bread tins as it’ll prevent the bread from getting soggy).
This sourdough is best eaten warm and fresh, but it can be kept for up to 10 days unsliced when sealed in a plastic bag and kept in a dry, dark place.
and here is my first sourdough since may!! the left is a plain loaf, the right is roasted garlic! they’re both super flat and under proofed but i think it has more to do with the starter not being active enough. the flavor however is superb, super nutty with the whole wheat and rye flower and a delicate tang. frankly the roasted garlic leaves something to be desired - quite a bummer, because the cheddar black pepper flavored loaf i did a few months ago was out of this world. really leaning in to my grandma ways - knitting, gardening, baking bread, pickling homegrown vegetables 🤗