As my kitchen is cool, I have been leaving my sourdough starter on the counter between baking, and it seems to be surviving nicely. It gets fed a couple times a week, if I remember, and is reassuringly forgiving, which I appreciate. January brought lots of bills and rain, but it always makes me happy when I try another flour-water-sourdough variation and a lovely fragrant loaf emerges.
Rye sourdough loaf with semola and black sesame seeds
100 grammes mature sourdough starter (coarse rye flour base, 100% hydration)
40 grammes coarse rye flour
160 grammes semola rimacinata flour
300 grammes flour (plain white 00)
400 grammes water
5 grammes salt
10 grammes black sesame seeds
Stir the sourdough starter with the water. Add the flour and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. After this initial rest, add the salt and seeds, if using. I often use flax seeds but black sesame gives a nice crunch as well. Mix well. Add more flour or water if you think the dough needs it.
Cover the bowl and let rise for four-seven hours at room temperature. It depends how warm your kitchen is, mine is a cool 16C (must get those windows changed….) so I assemble the dough in the morning and leave it until mid-afternoon. Fold the dough a few times (just in the bowl, using a spoon or spatula). You will feel the dough becoming more elastic and responsive, and it will increase in volume. A few hours before baking, fold dough into a banneton or bread tin, and let rest at least a couple hours until it’s rising nicely. (You can also leave it overnight in the banneton in the fridge, and bake the next day, as an overnight fermentation gives better flavour. Up to you.)
When ready to bake: heat your oven to 250C, with a cast iron pot. When it is properly hot, take the pot out carefully. Invert the dough onto a piece of baking paper, slash the dough, and put the bread in the pot. Bake at 250C for 25-30 minutes with the lid on, then 15 minutes more with the lid off, until the bread looks done and the base of the bread sounds hollow if you tap it. About 45 minutes in all, depending on your oven. Cool before slicing.
Notes: Quite happy with this loaf, some rye flavour without being too dense. This is our piazza here in Garbatella. And look! We had a sunny day! Such a nice interlude between all the rain, and we all had laundry out drying by lunchtime, like these neighbours. It gets very damp and humid here wintertime, and damp sheets draped all over the living room does not help. We have a washing machine which in theory has a dryer function, but it is mainly theoretical, and electricity is so expensive too. So a sunny weekend to put laundry outside is just super. And soon it will be spring, with warm and sunny days, and laundry on our little balcony will dry in no time at all.