My first attempts at re-invigorating a dried starter failed abysmally and it was clear that it was well and truly dead.
A couple of days into the process, I had added some fermenting blackberries and although there were a couple of promising bubbles, they soon popped and there was no further activity. I decided to try again, this time using fermenting grape juice.
We had picked the grapes to make wine towards the end of September and the must was about 10 days old when I used it. I followed Elly’s everyday low-waste method for making the starter and substituted the grape juice for the unsweetened pineapple juice that she used. This was the process I followed:
Day 1 morning: In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup juice and 1/2 cup strong white flour. Cover with a plate. If the temperature drops below 20ºC, wrap the bowl in a towel.
Day 1 evening: Stir mixture thoroughly with a spatula. Cover.
Day 2 morning: Stir mixture thoroughly with a spatula. Cover.
Day 2 evening: Stir mixture thoroughly with a spatula. Cover.
Day 3 morning: Start the feeding process: In a new bowl, mix
together 3 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons water and 3 tablespoons
of the starter. Stir well and then cover with a plate.
Day 3 evening: Repeat feeding process.
Continue feeding starter twice a day until Day 14
By this time, the starter should be quite bubbly and doubling in size by feeding time. It should be ready to use by Day 12 – Day 14.
On Day 14, I attempted my first loaf of bread using Teresa Greenway‘s Sourdough Test loaf method.
As I was still feeding my starter, it wasn’t necessary to take it out of the fridge and reanimate it from hibernation.
If you have starter in the fridge, then take the starter out of the fridge at 17:00 two days before you will be baking bread and leave to warm up for 2 – 3 hours.
Feed in the evening at 20:00.
Feed the starter again in the morning at 8:30
15:45 Start making bread
The ingredients for the bread are as follows:
- 120g sourdough starter at 100% hydration (half white flour and
half whole wheat flour)
- 250g water
- 400g bread flour
- 9g sea salt
Put the water into a large, bowl and add the starter, stirring thoroughly to break up the starter.
Add the flour and the salt and mix well.
Use you hands to bring the dough together, checking that there are no pockets of flour.
Cover with a plate and leave for an hour.
The stretch and fold process: by stretching and folding the dough, you are working and stretching the gluten strands in the dough. You stretch and fold each of the sides, then turn the dough over and repeat on the other side.
17:00 stretch and fold, 8 times in total and then cover the bowl with a plate
18:00 stretch and fold, 8 times in total and then cover the bowl with a plate
19:00 stretch and fold, 8 times in total and then cover the bowl with a plate
20:00 by now, the dough is no longer sticky and so you do the
fourth and final stretch and fold.
Cover the bowl with a plate and let the dough rest for 30 minutes
Pre-shape the dough into a ball, pulling it from the bottom towards you to increase the tension on the surface.
Let the dough relax for 15-20 minutes.
Use the same technique to shape the ball of dough.
Lay a tea towel over the top of a colander and dust the surface with cornflour.
Turn the ball upside down and drop it into the colander. Dust the top with cornflour and then cover with a plastic bag. Place in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, get the dough out of the fridge and leave for 1.5 – 2 hours to come back up to room temperature.
Turn over and dust off any excess flour.
Put into the breadmaker tin.
Score the top with a sharp blade. The idea of scoring is let any gases escape and ideally the cut should be about 1/2 deep.
If you want a soft-crust loaf, spray the top with water.
Leave to cool for 30 minutes or so and then turn out onto a baking rack.