Standing at the bus stop this afternoon, we commuters and some confused tourists looked glumly at the electronic sign announcing arriving buses. It was working, which is not always the case. However, the buses were 27, 36, 28 minutes away…. Not a good sign. “E una tragedia.” huffed the lady next to me. “No, signora.” I said. “E uno sciopero.” Transport strike again, which happens regularly in Rome. Inconvenient, but at least most local transport strikes here are just one day and for set hours (830-1700, 2000-2400). So we manage, and wear comfortable shoes in case we need to walk home. No problem unless you are in a hurry.
Sourdough is also no problem, unless you are in a hurry. I find that sourdough baking can be complicated, or quite relaxed. I do both, depending on mood and time available. It was thanks to the Swedish bread baking blog Pain de Martin that I finally got the hang of getting a starter going, and building more sourdough confidence. Martin Johannson has also published three books (bread, sourdough, sweet buns, pizza and more).
He still blogs and shared recipes, and they are very reliable. He’s been simplifying the starter (using rye and wheat) and using more no-knead methods. So when I wanted a simple sourdough for a quiet Sunday, this was the one.
Note: The night before, feed your starter. My sourdough starter is rye-based, and it lives in the fridge during the week. 100% hydration means it’s fed with equal weight flour and water. So a dollop of my starter (30g) was fed the night before with 50g water, 50g rye flour, and left over night at room temperature. I took out 100g for the bread, and put the other 30g of starter in a new jar in the fridge, waiting for the next round of baking.
Simple Swedish sourdough on Sunday
Adapted from “Ännu enklare bröd“, Pain de Martin
100g lively starter (100% hydration)
300g plain flour (I use 00)
170g wholewheat flour
Mix it well, and leave for 4-5 hours. Fold it a few times every hour or so: see Martin’s short video on folding dough. You’ll see the gluten developing a bit more each time. Let the dough rest again. Shape, fold the edges to the centre and let rise in a banneton until it almost doubles. Two-three hours, that took today, it’s a warm day. Or leave it overnight in fridge, and bake the next morning. Either way, I cover the banneton with a plastic shower cap.
Before……. and after rising.
Heat your oven to 250C and put your cast iron pot in with lid to heat for 20 minutes, at least. Take the pot out carefully (it will be very hot). Flour the dough, and invert basket quickly so dough is in the pot. Or put some baking paper on the basket, invert and put dough into the pot. Slash dough a few times, put the lid on and put the cast iron pot back into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take the lid off carefully and bake another 15 minutes. Take bread out, cool at least an hour before slicing.