sourdough sponge which is ready to mix into a loaf after we've passed the float test.
We started at around 9am, but we didn't spend much time actually prepping the sponge, it just quietly did its thing, and now at around 6pm we're ready to mix our loaf.
For practice purposes I'd suggest making just one loaf so you can simply halve the following amounts of everything.
Add 2 teaspoons salt (16g)
Mix around with a large spoon and then get your hands into it, until all the flour is absorbed. Some flour is thirstier than others, so you may need a few drops more water. This should be quite a wet and tacky dough.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and move the dough around to form a blob.
Now we're at the exciting part.
Uncover the bowl, and using wet hands, stretch and fold the dough, 8 times, moving the bowl as you go.
This link that shows how to stretch and fold in the bowl is one of the steps that has made a huge difference to my end product.
Repeat this step every 30 minutes over 2 hrs. This is much easier and less time consuming than conventional methods of kneading dough. It takes only a minute each time.
It doesn't matter if your timing is not exactly as I've set out over these two posts, but try to use it as a rough time table until you can develop your own routine. I love to have fresh baked bread in time for lunch.
Now here's the thing... instead of bulk proofing the dough in the big bowl over night and shaping in the morning, we're going to shape it now and proof it in the fridge overnight.
After the 2 hours of resting and stretching and folding it's time to shape your loaf.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and fold it in on itself to form a tension on the surface. This step is difficult to explain, so Here is Celia's blog again, look for the short video where she shapes the loaves.
Place in the fridge until tomorrow morning.
That's it!! That's the big difference! The dough does its final 12hr proof in the fridge!
Next morning (12hours later) heat the oven to 230 - 250C deg. In my case the wood oven needs the right kind of wood, to get up to its maximum heat of around 230C - 250Cdeg. But don't worry, your conventional gas or electric oven will do the job just as well. You will need to experiment a bit, every oven is different, and perhaps turn it down to 220C after the first 5 minutes.
** All that I have ever read and studied about sourdough was to feed my mother for days, (discarding flour in the process), mix up the dough late in the evening, let it proof on the bench for 8 - 12hrs overnight, then shape and bake in the morning.
Most of the time my loaves were not rising in the oven. It was lacking 'oven spring'.
Then I found this little youtube clip with Martin Boetz and Lynne Trappel.
THIS was my aahaa moment and it brings me great pleasure to share it with you.
Maybe this method will work for you too.
So... happy sourdough baking, and don't forget, if you need some mother/starter to begin with, let me know so I can get some of mine ready for you to collect. There is also plenty of information on Google about making your own starter/mother.