We’ve (well Mr Ecochick has) been making bread for years now and we’ve now moved onto making our bread totally waste free by using a sourdough starter a girlfriend gave us. Woohoo for totally waste free bread!!!! So check out our breadmaker sour dough. Before I give you the wonderful recipe from Mr Ecochick first meet his new friend Frank, our waste free sourdough starter…
Breadmaker sour dough
Sourdough bread is supposed to have health benefits but most of us can agree it tastes great too. Aside from obtaining and caring for the starter culture (a separate topic) the recipes we read for a sourdough loaf can be pretty complicated as well. Even Wendyl Nissen’s simple sourdough in Supermarket Companion looked too complicated to me. If we were going to start making our own sourdough bread regularly, we needed to come up with our own recipe.
Disclaimer: We are new to this and are still perfecting the process. We are currently in summer so the starter may behave and grow differently once it cools down. The cooler temperature will also likely affect the rate of rise after the first knead, so a longer time may be require there as well. Finally if you intend to only make a loaf once a week you will probably keep your starter in the fridge, so that will likely have an effect. All of these factors will be revealed as we continue to experiment with the dough in the coming months
Caution: There is a chance with any bread recipe that it rises too much and overflows the bread pan. This can bring the dough in contact with the element which presents a risk of fire during baking. If your breadmaker is small consider halving the recipe or inspect the breadmaker before the bake cycle begins.
For the last few years our bread has been made in our Panasonic breadmaker, and we have got pretty slick at this. A couple of minutes effort in the evening and there is hot bread in the morning. We are very satisfied with the process and extra effort or steps was not going to be a long lasting solution.
So these were the criteria:
- Works in the breadmaker, must be able to use the timer function.
- Flexible; once a week or every day, choice of different size loaves.
- No kneading by hand, minimum mess and dishes.
- Overnight procedure, no 24 hour recipes.
- Simple procedure, with a low number of ingredients.
- Ability to use a variety of flours.
Tall order? Well let’s see about that. Bread at its core is a pretty simple thing so I could not see why this wouldn’t be possible. Reading a few sourdough recipes a pattern started to appear: Mix starter, flour, salt, water and knead for a few/ several minutes. Leave to rise for 12/24/48 hours and then put into a tin. This pretty much counts as a knead or knock-back so it needs to rise again before it is baked.
Looking at the breadmaker manual reveals that program ‘08’ or ‘French’ (knead 10-20 minutes, rise 2.45-4.10, bake 55 minutes) has the longest interval between the knead and the bake, and very importantly it can also use the timer. The bread would still need to be mixed together before starting the timer program, but we can use the pizza dough cycle for that.
9 experimental loaves have been made so far with 6 successful and of those 4 were excellent results. Two ‘failures’ were still perfectly edible, but did not rise correctly due to an insufficient quantity of starter culture being used. The one true failure was caused by a programming error (mine) resulting in a par-baked loaf that did not rise.
We have been starting the sourdough sometime between 8 and 10 pm, so the dough gets between 6 and 10 hours to rise depending on when you want the bread ready. For us this has been sometime between 7 and 8am. Longer is probably better, and in cooler months we could expect to have to start the bread earlier in the evening as it will rise more slowly. The second rise period is heated by the breadmaker so should rise correctly year round – provided the first rise went well..
Here is our super easy breadmaker sourdough – these amounts make an extra large loaf:
Place breadmaker pan on scales, tare for zero. Add to the pan:
350g starter culture (works out about 1 and ½ cups of warm starter – not straight out of the fridge)
500g flour(s) (suggest 50% high grade, 50% wholemeal)
300g water – more will be added
1 teaspoon salt *
Put the breadmaker pan into the breadmaker and start the knead cycle. On the Panasonic this ‘22’ or ‘Pizza dough’. While it is running add more water until a sticky loose dough is formed. I find this takes roughly another 100ml of water. Check that it is all mixing right and scrape the sides down if required.
After 10 minutes or so of kneading stop the dough cycle. Now start the bread cycle using the timer such that the bread will be ready when you want it. The crust we get is nice and crisp which makes cutting the bread easy. As with most bread it is best enjoyed warm, but keeps well for a couple of days too.
The bread unsurprisingly has a mildly sour taste and goes great with savoury things such as soup or cheese, but not so well with sweet things like jam (the kids and myself have no problem with the sour dough and jam/ lemon curd combo). Some recipes suggest adding a couple of teaspoons of sugar of offset this flavour, not tested but I would expect this would just make the bread rise faster and possibly make the bread even more sour.
As mentioned above caring for sourdough starter is really another topic and will be posted on once we have a bit more experience with looking after it.
*Salt – we usually use sea/ rock salt for our cooking but since this doesn’t contain Iodine we have taken to using Iodized table salt for our bread making. Iodine deficiency is a huge concern in most countries especially New Zealand since our soils are Iodine deficient so we aren’t getting any through the plants we eat. So basically useless you’re eating lots of seaweed (we also add kelp powder as sprinkles on our food) you need to have some iodize salt in your diet.
So there you have it team easy yummy breadmaker sour dough. Enjoy. I’d LOVE to hear how you get on. Please come back and let us know your results.