Stiff Sourdough

Sourdough is a naturally fermented dough used to make breads. Breads made with it, called sourdough breads, have a characteristic sour taste (hence the name) which is not present in breads made with baker’s yeast. Skip to the recipe.

This recipe is for a stiff sourdough with 50% hydration (i.e. the amount of water is half the weight of flour). Liquid sourdough (with 100% hydration, i.e. equal weights of flour and water) also exists.

Properly maintained sourdough can live for years. After each use you feed it with new flour and water and let it rest until next use.

Prepare this sourdough and be ready four our next recipe, which is going to be a sourdough bread.

Sourdough

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serves: 1.6 lb dough
prep.: 10 min10′
rest: 2 days + 2 days2d + 2d

Ingredients

  • 2 oz of raisins
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 cups of bread flour
  • 3/4 cup of rye flour
  • 1 oz of wheat germ
Sourdough ingredients

Preparation

Step 1 In a bowl pour the water and add the raisins. Cover with a cloth and let it rest for 2 days.
Step 2 After 2 days the raisin’s water should be fermented.
Step 3 Sift the flours in a bowl and add the wheat germ. Make a well in the middle.
Step 4 Pour 1 cup of the raisins’ water in the well and mix until all the water is absorbed.
Step 5 Knead with your hands until the dough separates from the bowl.
Step 6 At this point you have to knead the dough on a table for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, non-sticky and elastic.
Step 7 Dust with flour the bottom of a clean bowl and put the dough in. Dust with flour on top and cover with a damp cloth.
Step 8 Let it rest for 2 days. It should double its volume.
Step 9 Flatten the dough on the table to knock out the air. Roll into a ball. Now the sourdough is ready to be used in a bread recipe.
Step 10 Please read the Important Notes below.

Important Notes:

  • You never use all the sourdough in a bread recipe, you only use a part of it.
  • For example, if your sourdough weights 1.6 lb and your bread recipe calls for 7 oz of sourdough you take 7 oz from the dough and use them for your bread.
  • The sourdough is alive, you have to feed it.
  • After you make the bread you have to feed the remaining sourdough (1.2 lb) with 4.7 oz flour and 1/4 cup of water. This will give you back a 1.6 lb sourdough.
  • After feeding the sourdough you have to let it rest until it doubles its volume (it depends of room temperature but it can easily take a few hours).
  • Once it doubles its volume you take out the air from the dough and roll it into a ball. Now it is ready to make more bread.
  • If not using right away, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
  • Ideally the sourdough should be fed everyday, but it can survive up to 3 days without the addition of new flour.
  • If 3 days have past and it is not in your plans to make bread just take 7 oz of the sourdough and toss them and feed the remaining sourdough with 4.7 oz of flour and 1/4 cup of water to keep the dough alive.
  • The amounts of flour and water you add don’t have to be exactly the amounts needed to recover the exact weight of the original sourdough. Sometimes they could be larger and sometimes smaller. The important thing is to keep roughly (and not exactly) the same amount of sourdough always.
  • The new flour you add should respect the original flour composition (80% plain flour, 20% rye flour).
  • If you don’t want to use rye you can make a 100% plain flour sourdough.
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