This post is long due, I have made countless sourdough bread and my bottle of sourdough is already two years old. I have been feeding the dough weekly only because I am too lazy and I do not make sourdough bread all the time. I literally have to discard some dough whenever I feed it.
Sourdough bread is bread which is fermented with wild yeast in the air instead of commercial yeast. Wild yeast is everywhere - in the air, in the flour and on the surface of some fruits. Commercial yeast has replaced wild yeast because it is easier to mass produced and easier for bakeries to use and store and most importantly it proofs our bread quickly. In contrast, wild yeast works much more slowly to proof breads.
So you ask, why do people bother then? Well, for one, I LOVE the flavour and texture that sourdough that is made with wild yeast gives as compared to bread made with commercial yeast. I admit Singaporeans simply love the soft pillowy bread that is sold in every local bakery. We are so used to soft, sweet and easy to chew bread. We are lazy, are we?
But I love to chew my bread, once in a while. When I am not rushing to work, we will have sourdough bread with dinner and have nice conversation with my family or friends. I also like to dip my sourdough bread in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some herbs or simply just smear some good butter on it. If you ask me, I will have very soft tangzhong bread in the morning when I have to rush to work but textured sourdough bread in the evening especially in the weekends. A nice balance I would say.
How about a beginner sourdough bread? It is a bread that does not take a whole day to ferment or rise. It takes just about two hours for the first rise and then about an hour for the second rise. As compared to the seven to eight hours for the purist sourdough bread. This bread uses the bubbly sourdough starter along with the commercial yeast to speed things up as you are getting used to working with sourdough.
Don't worry, this bread does not taste sour as you expected it to be. It is subtle and yet still soft on the inside. The strong sour flavour are only developed over a long, slow fermentation ofr a fully sourdough bread. Since we are on a speedy note, we will not get it so sour. Your bread will taste a little more sour if you have not been feeding your starter for more than two weeks at a stretch or if you use a mature starter. If the starter is fairly new, the taste will be mild.
Would you like a change in taste and texture of your bread? Then, make your own. Starting from the starter. Get it at http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-sourdough-starter-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-47337
Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp Kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water
1 cup sourdough starter
Put flour, salt, yeast and water in a mixer with a dough hook.
Make a rough dough.
Add the sourdough starter and knead till smooth and dough leaves bowl.
It is a fairly wet and sticky dough.
Either flour your hands well or put a little oil on your hands to take the dough out onto a oiled big bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let it rise to double its size, about two to three hours.
Before the time is up, flour a proofing basket/brotform/banneton well.
If you don't have this, try a bowl! Oil the bowl, flour it very well.
Dump the dough onto the proofing basket, cover with cling wrap again.
The dough should rise to the desired size by an hour or so.
Turn the dough out onto a lined pan.
Better still, if you have a pizza stone, it will be perfect.
Bake it in a preheated 220 C oven for 15 minutes with a pan of steaming hot water at the bottom of the oven.
After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 180 C to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. If you want your bread to be a bit more brown, bake it for another 5 minutes or so.