My sourdough starter lives! It was fed after a month of neglect ( thrilling photo series to follow) and happily obliged me by raising this loaf. I had some fresh tyttebær (lingonberries) picked in Norway last month. They keep for ages, so I added a handful of berries to this loaf, the first proper loaf of the fall. So nice to be baking sourdough again. It is still T-shirt weather here, maybe a spot of rain today, and I am meeting Norwegian friends tonight in Trastevere for a drink, which will be fun. First I need to investigate the new government requirement for a libretto d’impianto per la climatizzazione, a maintenance booklet for air conditioning units (we have one unit). Dire fines if you do not have it by mid October, so I will brace myself and sort that out after work, once I look up some Italian words involving bureaucracy, energy efficiency and libretti……
Lingonberry sourdough loaf
100 grammes sourdough starter (rye-based, 100% hydration)
350 grammes water
300 grammes plain wheat flour (I used 00)
75 grammes barley flour
135 grammes wholewheat flour
8 grammes salt
Later: 40 grammes fresh lingonberries (or fresh cranberries)
Stir the sourdough starter with the water. Add the flours and mix well. Normally I would use 500 grammes flour + 375 grammes water, but as I was adding fresh berries to the dough later, I reduced the hydration. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. After this initial rest, add the salt. Mix well. Add more flour or water if you think the dough needs it.
Cover the bowl and let rise for about a couple hours at room temperature. 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 nicely in size. Fold in the fresh lingonberries during the last fold, carefully so they remain whole.
For baking same day: move the dough to a floured banneton and cover it with plastic (a hotel shower cap works well), and let it rise 5-6 hours at room temperature. (I cheated and lined the banneton with baking paper, easier to lift over to the pot.) OR: If you are in Rome, it is September and your kitchen is still 28C, leaving the dough to rise overnigh hours in the fridge might work better.
When ready to bake: heat your oven to 250C, with a cast iron pot. When it is properly hot (or after at least 20 minutes), 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 thirty minutes with the lid on, then 10-15 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: This time the loaf was slightly burned on top, which I think was due to the lingonberry juices. The berries held their shape very well, and were little tart pockets in the bread, and the loaf was crusty outside and with an OK structure inside, hood flavour. Once I start baking regularly again with my starter, the structure will improve.