This recipe is care of my sister-in-law, Sascha. She imparted her bread-making secrets with me, and I am going to share them with you.
The first step is using dry sourdough starter. I got mine from Sascha but you will be able to get it from your wet sourdough starter after your next batch of bread. When you are done kneading, take flour and scrape the residue from your fingers and the edge of the bowl. Work the mix with excess flour between fingers and thumb to make a crumbly, dry mix.
The starter can be kept in the fridge, uncovered. The key is to keep it dry so it doesn’t mould. If you aren’t using it regularly, check from time to time and add flour if necessary.
For one large loaf that lasts our little family four to five days, I use about 1 cup of starter. Distil water by boiling and let it cool. Add about 1/2 litre of distilled water. Add generous portions of seeds. I use pumpkin seeds, linseed, sunflower seeds and about 1 teaspoon of fennel seed and one teaspoon of cumin. You can use any seeds you like. Also add about 1 cup of flour – any flour you prefer. I use half-half organic unbleached white and khorasan wholemeal flour. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar to aid fermentation. Mix with a fork or spoon. The consistency should be like pancake mixture. Leave it to stand in a warm place for about a day. It should rise and bubble slightly, like so…
Prepare a baking dish by lining it with baking paper. I use a large casserole dish.
Use about 3/4 cup of cous cous, soaked or cooked. I add 2 teaspoons of salt with hot water to cous cous, but you could instead add salt directly to mixture. When cooled, mix cous cous through the sourdough batter. Very gradually, mix in flour. In all, I add about 2 cups, but you want to add it gradually and mix in, because the idea of this recipe is to keep it quite moist. When the dough is starting to form a shape, ditch the fork or spoon and sprinkle a layer of flour on top of dough, and begin to work the flour around the dough. You are aiming to maintain the body of the dough without making it too floury.
When you can comfortably lift the dough without it falling apart, spin it gently between your hands to form a ball. Place gently in the baking dish, lined with baking paper.
Let it rest for about an hour, then put into an oven. Turn the oven on to 170 degrees celcius and cook for an hour to an hour-and-a-half. My oven is quite slow, so my bread takes about an hour-and-a-half. Test with a skewer.
While your bread is cooking, using extra flour, repeat step one to obtain the starter for your next loaf. It also helps with the washing up.
Then enjoy delicious, healthy sourdough!
I gave up making my own sourdough at some point because of the mess and the ‘I can’t be bothered’ factor. But now, I really enjoy making it and find it very easy and satisfying. It helps that every loaf I have made so far has been a success.
Let me know how you go with it.