They are called sourdoughs because they are the origin, the starting point from which hundreds, thousands of loaves can be born. They cannot be baked or eaten, but they must be fed. These ‘moms’ are also long-lived: there are records of some that have exceeded a century of life. The name sounds familiar to us – especially as a result of the boom in artisan bakeries in recent years – but do we know what exactly one of the oldest techniques for making bread consists of? We delve into the matter to take advantage of the oven.
As with wine, a process of natural fermentation -in this case of a grain, such as wheat- that is left to rest for a few days. During this period, it is essential to comply with adding certain amounts of water and flour to the dough so that the sugar and the enzymes of the grain ferment. The result is an acidic and aerated dough, ideal for preparing -for example- a good peasant bread: crispy on the outside and with a soft but full-bodied crumb on the inside. The Cook Jerónimo De Aliaga from @pansalaire gives us his recipe to prepare a traditional sourdough at home. The process requires a mandatory ingredient: patience.
25 g of flour
5 g of honey
Mix all the ingredients well and put everything in a glass jar. Then we put it in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
25 g of flour
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and mix with the flour and water (it is important to mix by hand, as this helps to better develop the good bacteria in the sourdough). Store back in the knob, but now we leave it out for 48 more hours.
30 g of flour (we must always use the same flour)
First we add the water to the dough to dissolve everything well; then we mix with the flour, always by hand. We let the jar rest again for 24 hours, out of the refrigerator.
25 g of flour
Now the dough should already have a slightly acidic smell. Mix first with the water and then add the flour. We leave again for 24 hours.
We already have sourdough. To continue maintaining it, we are going to incorporate the same amount of water per 50/50 flour, depending on how much we are going to need for the amount of bread we make. Every time we want to use the sourdough we have to feed it a day before so that it is strong. If we are not going to use the sourdough for a long time, we can freeze it and when we need it we simply start feeding it again.
List of basic utensils for making bread at home: balance; cast iron pan or pot; pommel (for the sourdough); taper (for the dough).
How is peasant bread prepared?
300 g harina
75 g of sourdough (refreshed the day before)
250 g water (depending on the humidity of the dough we will add a little more)
7 g of the sal fina
(Phase one: mass)
Mix the flour with the water little by little, until we add half the water. Then we add the sourdough and continue kneading and incorporating what is left of the water. We continue with the salt and continue kneading for about 15 or 20 minutes. Let it rest in a bowl or taper for 2 hours.
(Phase 2: formed)
We take our dough and put it on a table that has been dusted with flour. We press it gently with our fingers to stretch it, grab the tips and bend them inward. We make a ‘ball’ with the dough and leave it to ferment in a bowl with a wet dryer on top, for approximately 2 to 3 hours, until it doubles in size.
(Phase 3: baking)
We preheat the oven to the maximum temperature 250 ° C – 280 ° C for 40 minutes. Ideal if we have a cast iron pot or pan that we place inside the oven (this helps to better retain the heat to cook the bread). We remove the pan from the oven once it has preheated, and place the bread dough from the bowl there. It is important that the face that was on top remains on top.
We make an X cut on top of the bread and with a spray we spray water on top before putting it in. Cook for 40 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, let’s try not to cut it until 1 hour later. The bread continues to cook when it comes out: if we cut it at that moment, we cut the cooking.