Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Homemade sourdough bread

Sourdough tartines ready to be toasted for breakfast

Baking bread is my new passion. Started off with simple pizza dough to sandwitch loaf, to sourdough boule. The learning process is full of highs and many lowsssss. There are days where my loaves rise nicely and days where out came a rock, a supposed baguette turn flat just like flip-flops or days where I have nice crunchy crust but no oven spring. Then slowly, it improves.. slowly the crumbs starts from pieces of cooked dough to airy crumbs, holes are starting to appear then Tunnels!! The process is long and there are many failures but I am lucky to have a loving family who always encourage by consuming whatever bread or dough I put on the table (or they have no other choice?? Lol)

This is a country boule but my slash is still not there yet..

I am loving every minute of this learning process. I'll never see bread the same way as before..I don't buy baguettes from supermarkets anymore, only buying from those artisan boulanger..and of cause some very special bread which is not hard to fine but very difficult to choose as always there is so many to choose from.

Ever since this bread making journey started, I have a new set of routine now. I mix my dough in the evening and the first thing I do in the morning is to check on the dough. To see how it has rose and to feed my sourdough starter. Oh yes.. this starter is just like a pet. It's alive and need to be feed on water and flour :)

Nicely proofed waiting to go in the oven

So here's my daily bread:

500gm        Country bread flour
350gm        Cold water
10gm          Sea salt
5gm            Fresh yeast cake
100gm        Whole wheat sourdough starter

Day 1:

  1. Mix Flour, starter and cold water to form a thick mass. Allow dough to autolyse for an hour meaning just walk away or get yourself a cup of tea. This is to allow the dough to absorb the water.
  2. Now dissolve your yeast cake in 1 or 2 table spoons of warm water and knead in the dough. Let rest for another 30 minutes then mix in the salt.
  3. Let rest for 3 hours or more depend of the weather til you see the dough has doubled, then start to do the stretch and fold. I do all my stretch and fold in my round plastic tub. I use a spoon/rubber spatula to scoop up dough from the side of the tub fold it towards the center ( at this point of time, the gluten has developed and it should not break easily) while turning the tub to the left. This is 1. Do a  20 count of these stretch and fold, let rest for 30minutes then come back a to do another of this stretch and fold with an interval of 30 minutes.
  4. After 3 sets of stretch and fold, put the tub in the fridge for a good 24 hours or even 36 hours.  This is important if you want a very airy and light crumbs. There is not much of kneading to do but a lot of stretch, fold and wait. The long cold retardation does give the bread more flavour and character too.
Day 2:

  1. Take the tub out of the fridge, let it warm up 30 mins.  Turn out dough on to lightly dusted work surface.
  2. Cut into 2.  Preshape the pieces into balls and let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Shape the dough into balls and place them, seam-side-up, into floured cake pan or linen-lined baskets.
  4. Cover and proof for an hour. Do the finger test by pressing lightly into dough: dough that springs back immediately and leaves no indentation indicates underproofing.  If the dough springs back somewhat but still leaves a discern indentation then it's proofed properly - with just enough rise left to give you some nice oven spring.  But if the indentation just stares back at you you've probably let it ferment too long.
  5. Preheat the oven at 220C with baking stone. You will need steam for a nice crust. For the steam, you can either spay the oven door every 2 minutes for the first 10 minutes of baking or you can poor some boiling water in to the lower tray of the oven. Since I am baking with a mini oven, I spray the walls of the oven.
  6. Just before baking, turn loves out from the linen lined basket onto a patchment paper dust with semolina, slash the loaves two or three times. I use a non-stick cake pan, so I just slide the pan on to the baking stone and bake.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 20 minutes at 200C without steam, until the crust is golden brown. At 25 mins, take the loaves out and tap at the back of the loaf, if sounds hollow means it's cooked. Put them back into the oven without the baking pan with oven door ajar for another 10mins.
  8. Cool on a wire rack until completely cool then slice and enjoy!

Still a little hot but can't wait to slice open to see the crumbs..


  1. Hello Sylvia,
    It's been a little whild since I have visited ur blog but 'Wow!' breadmaking is admirable! :) Usually it is my 'lao gong' who gets the bread on w/end mornings frm the boulangerie! wish I could send him out to get 'roti canai' instead :);BTW have u tried making roti canai?

    1. Selamat Pagi Lina,

      Hah!! I was just thinking about you the other day wondering if you cook too? and many other things e.g if you have a life like mine..meaning either french nor nyonya!! then you appeared!!
      Roti Canai!! i haven't try yet but it is in my "thing to try list" also I want to try "ham cyme peng" and "Yaw cha Kuai" too!! the only thing is if i make all these it will only be me eating ;(