Sour dough bread uses the natural yeasts in the air to create a batter (mother) that is continually fermenting by converting the starch in the flour to sugar then using the sugar to feed the yeast. The mother needs regular feeding with flour to keep it alive. If it runs out of starch from the flour it turns very acidic and dies. There is no need to add dried or fresh yeast, just use the mother instead.
How to make Sourdough Starter (mother) 1. Begin with a clean jar or container. Blend one cup of warm water and a cup of flour to stir. Place in jar or container and cover with lid. 2. Store at room temperature, about 70-75 degrees 3. Every 24 hours, feed the starter. Do that by discarding half the mixture and adding 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 cup flour. Re-cover the starter after each feeding and put back into its warm place. 4. Within 3-4 days, the starter will begin to bubble and ferment. There will be a distinctive (but not unpleasant) sour smell, sort of like a brewery. That means the yeast is working. This process may start a little sooner, or it may take up to a week. In any case, when it bubbles and smells like this, the starter is ready to use.
Feeding the mother Start by weighing the container so that you know how much mother is in the container. Weigh the mother and container, take away the weight of the container and then add flour to the container (the same weight of mother) and enough hand hot water (usually about the same weight of the mother) to make a stiff batter. As you are always adding the same amount of flour you can end up with vats of mother so be prepared to throw some away before you feed it rather than increasing it too much. Feed the mother after use and at least 12 hours before you need to use it again. If you do not feed the mother regularly it will die! It needs to be fed regularly every day to remain active. Store at room temperature. If you do not want to use it every day you can feed it and then put it into the fridge with a lid on for about 3 weeks without feeding. When you want to use it again take it out of the fridge about 12 hours beforehand and feed. The mother needs to look active with lots of bubbles and a good batter like consistency. Freezing Mother The mother freezes well and it is worth freezing some in case you kill it. When you want to use the frozenmother, take it out of the freezer and stand it at room temperature until thawed. Feed it and then use it after 12 hours.
*Use Strong Bread (high protein) This recipe will work with all our bread flours (Six Seed, Mixed Grain etc) Adjust the amount of water to produce a slack dough. It depends on how runny your mother is. You might try 200 g to start. (If you wish to produce an overnight sour dough then just reduce the mother to 100 grams in the recipe and allow it to stand at room temperature for at least 14 hours then process.) Finished dough temperature: - 25 to 30oc if possible
Method Weigh all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and bring together. When it has started to form a dough, turn it out onto your work surface. It will be very sticky and your fingers will get glued together. Then tear down (literally tearing and moulding) to form a soft silky dough. Dust the dough with flour and place it in a bowl covered with plastic to avoid it skinning, and then allow it to stand for 5 hours. After this time, put the dough on your work surface and knock it back by gently folding and moulding the dough taking care not to rip it. Place back into the bowl and cover. Stand for 2 hours. Take out of the bowl and knock it back again and then give it the final mould. Place onto a well floured baking tray. The final prove will be about one and a half hours. Bake at about 220oc for 30 to 35 minutes. If you want a nice crispy crust, put a cast iron pan in the bottom of the oven. Allow to heat up and then put 2 ice cubes in after putting the bread in the oven. The steam gelatinises on the crust to make it crispy.