Daunted about having to make a sourdough starter? Sourdough isn’t hard, but it requires a lot of waiting and feeding! Try this simple sourdough recipe (adapted from one by Peter Sidwell) – it’s a cheat’s version, but gives an almost authentic taste and texture for those of us with too little time to wait! The recipe is not unlike an Italian “biga” or French “poolish” and gives enough starter for two loaves. You can keep any remaining starter in the fridge (I keep mine in a kilner jar) for up to 5 days. Bring back to room temperature at least 40 minutes before using or put in an oven at 40 degrees C for 15 mins.
10g fresh yeast (or 1 teasp. dried yeast)
300g strong white flour
2 tablesp. balsamic vinegar
300 ml water
1 teaspoon sugar
250g sour starter
120 ml water
150g strong white flour
100g rye flour
10g fresh yeast or 1 teasp dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Mix the sour starter ingredients in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for at least 12 hours to prove at room temperature (I tend to do this overnight).
For the sourdough, put 250g of the starter in a bowl to a stand mixer with a dough hook, or the jug of a Thermomix processor. Add the two flours, salt, sugar, and the yeast diluted in the the water. Mix together at slow speed for about 20 seconds till it starts to come together and then increase to speed 1-2 for the mixer. Mix for 6 minutes. For the Thermomix, mix at speed 3 for 10-12 seconds until it comes together and then continue on the dough setting for 6 minutes.
Remove the dough and shape into a round. Place in an oiled bowl, covered with a tea towel or cling film for about an hour for it to prove until doubled in size. Remove the dough and shape or place in a proving basket for another 40 minutes. Slash the top and place in a hot oven (220 degrees C) for approximately 30 minutes and nicely browned.