Gourmet Traveller|July 2020
Unlike conventional bread, which uses yeast to rise, sourdough uses a natural leaven known as a starter or levain. All you need is flour and water - plus a good dose of patience. To start, mix equal parts filtered water with good quality, unbleached baker’s flour to form a batter. Adding rye flour will help develop an authentic, sour flavour. Leave at room temperature for the fermentation to begin. This will take about two days to kick-off. To boost your starter, add some fruit such as diced apple, or a few sultanas or raisins. Your starter needs to be fed every day. To do this, remove 75 per cent of the starter and add fresh batter to make up the lost amount. For example, if you made a 300gm starter, you would discard 220gm and replace it with 110gm of water and 110gm of flour. Failing to feed your starter for more than two to three days will result in it becoming too sour or it may die. It will take about seven days before your starter is ready to use. It should have a fresh, sour aroma and be full of bubbles. Every sourdough is different, so patience and perseverance is key.
MAKES 1 LOAF (72 PER CENT HYDRATION; SEE NOTE)
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