Sciopero, and a simple Swedish sourdough on Sunday

sourdough loaf

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 water
300g plain flour (I use 00)
170g wholewheat flour
7g salt

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.

dough in banneton dough in banneton

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.

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13 thoughts on “Sciopero, and a simple Swedish sourdough on Sunday

  1. That’s some great oven spring you’re getting there – do you think that’s because you’re using the hot iron pot? I’ve never tried that technique. Love the shower cap idea too.

    1. Hi there Daniel. So nice to see your posts, some lovely loaves there! and with Italian flour! The shower cap is something my mother showed me. Yes, the hot iron pot method definitely saved me from tasty but shapeless sourdough loaves. It works better with slightly wetter doughs, I suppose the pot traps the steam, which can be hard to get right in our IKEA oven, even with extra trays with water or icecubes. Baking free-form and pot-less is fun as well. So many bread experiments yet to try, so little time….

      1. Hah. Yes. I do have two nice cast iron pots… but they’re in storage in a shed in another country, and I don’t think I want to buy more, so that particular experiement will have to wait. I have been getting frustrated recently with wet doughs and free-form loaves where they go a bit discus-like when you take them out of the proving basket so definitely want to try this… eventually.

      2. Yes, I know what it is like when a promising dough just slumps down after being transferred for baking….. And the wetter doughs give much more interesting internal structure, I find. My pot came from a friend leaving Rome, it was too heavy to be taken along. Best wishes with your baking (looks like you are doing so well even without a pot).

  2. Great post, your bread is beautiful. This is similar to how I make my sourdough bread, I usually do the folds the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight. I like a really long fermentation. I have yet to get a banneton though, I’m not even sure where one buys those.

    1. Thanks! Yes, overnight rises give better flavour. And it is so nice to pop the dough in the oven the next morning and have the smell of baking bread wafting through the house. Bannetons I have seen online, but I just use an old woven straw basket dusted with flour. Some use bowls lined with a tea towel, dusted with flour. Whatever works best for you. What do you use?

  3. Just found your blog today… nice bread baking, I am going to follow your adventures! (I am crazy for sourdough bread, wish I could bake more often than I do,life is a bit frantic sometimes… hummmm… make that all the time! 😉

    nice to “meet” you!

    1. Thanks! Lovely to meet you as well. I just love your Mexican focaccia! That looks so good! Definitely bookmarking that for my “to-try soon” list.

  4. Hi Krumkaker – how are you doing? Finally got round to trying this technique, now I’m back in England, and have found my Le Creuset (though I’ve lost loads of other baking kit. Boohoo). Looks good. I’m going to blog about it soon.

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