Oozing warmth, firm on the outside, yet soft and delicate on the inside. It seems there is nothing better than freshly baked bread. The divine smell that wafts through the air as it is pulled lovingly from the oven, nestled between a pair of oven mitts, is enough to summon anyone in the nearby vicinity to the kitchen. Suddenly ravenous, they tuck in to toasted slices enjoyed with our homemade vegan butter, cumquat jam or perhaps our famous me-so-mighty vegemite.
We bake sourdough bread in our kitchen. Sourdough is a prebiotic that helps support a healthy gut microbiome for improved digestion. Sourdough also contains higher levels of folate and antioxidants than other breads, as well as lower levels of gluten.
The preparation of sourdough starts with a pre-ferment, known as a mother culture. This is a fermented mixture of flour and water, which contains a colony of microorganisms (including wild yeast and lactobacilli). This starter is used to create a vigorous leaven (a substance added to dough to make it ferment and rise) and provides the bread with a particular flavour. Each time you go to make a loaf, keep half a cup of the mother culture in a jar for next time. You should also always use wet hands when handling the dough. Note, the bread needs to be made over a period of two days in order to allow the fermentation and leavening process to occur.
Sourdough Bread Recipe
* Makes 4 loaves
Step 1 – Activate Mother:
Note: Before you make dough, keep a half cup of the mother culture in a jar for next time. Use wet hands when handling the dough.
- 5 cups white khorasan flour
- 5 cups filtered water
Place ingredients in the dough maker machine and switch on for 5 minutes, until the dough gets smooth. Leave in the machine covered with a damp cloth for 1-2 hours.
Step 2 – Make Dough:
- 7.5 cups whole khorasan flour
- 7.5 cups of white bakers flour
- 4 cups water
- 80 mL rice bran oil
- 2 tbsp salt
Add the ingredients to the machine and turn on for at least 10 minutes until smooth and stretchy. Store in a container in the fridge for 18-26 hours.
Step 3 – Activate Dough:
Using wet hands, take out the dough from the fridge and fold over each way to get the air out. Rest the dough for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Step 4 – Baking:
- Preheat oven to 260 degrees celsius.
- Fold the dough again.
- Separate dough into sections (3 per tin) and shape. Wait 5 minutes to let them rise, then put in oven for 30 minutes.
- Shuffle around in the oven and rotate as necessary.
- Reduce temperature to 210 degrees celsius, bake for at least another 20 minutes.
- Check bread by knocking on it with a fist. If it sounds hollow, it is ready.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then enjoy!