Sourdough Club with Rock Paper Flour & Organic Ease
The 1st rule of sourdough club is - do not talk about sourdough club!
The 2nd rule of sourdough club is - it’s all about timing and temperature
The 3rd rule of sourdough club is - actually do talk about sourdough club, tell your friends, your family and your neighbours. Bread’s alive baby! BREAD’S ALIVE!
Organic Ease and RPF’s Launch Promotion
Step 2: the fold..
OK peeps, this is where it gets real. This is the bit that has you questioning your relationship with your mate that told you making sourdough was “easy”. Sure that jerk has been doing it for years and has forgotten the awkward moments spent learning this technique. Take faith, riding a bike is tricky too but 8 year old’s can do it; don’t worry, you’ve got this!!
First of all we will need to add the salt; mix with a 30mL’s of water pour this mix over the dough and press into the mix with your fingers until all the water is absorbed, this is a gentle way to mix in the salt and a great way to practice poking.
The goal of this process is to stretch and develop the gluten proteins, the bits that hold everything together and makes coeliac’s green with envy as they watch you chow down on your light as air croissant or Danish.
So, turn out the dough use your scraper to remove the sticky bits from the bottom of the bowl. Wet fingers and slide them beneath the dough pull it off the work surface and give it a little dangle, slap and fold back down on the bench picking it up from the top and bottom end of the left side, of (yes - I realise it looks mostly like a circle at the moment - improvise!) then turn your hands back perpendicular to your body, turning the dough 90deg.
Watch the video, have a go, scream a little, bang the bench in despair and then realise that actually this isn’t so hard and.. hang on a minute, you’ve got this! Suck it jerk friend, now everyone is going to be talking about YOUR bread at the next dinner party!
Whilst you’re doing it notice how the dough tightens up and becomes a bit trickier to stretch. At this point, let it relax, you and your dough can sit for a minute or two, have a chat and then resume the folding repeat this process of folding and relaxing until you can “window the dough”. which may take from 5 - ten minutes.
To window the dough, cut off a small piece and stretch it out with wet fingers to pulling from the centre until you can see light come through and it doesn’t tear. If it tears then repeat the folding routine one more time and try again. It will be ready when its ready and when its ready we will know that the gluten is good, the pain is over, you’re a legend and the dough is ready for the next stage – the ferment.
So scoop that bad boy up, tuck it up back into your bowl and give it some privacy whilst things get reproductive *note – I like to think playing a little soft jazz helps this process. The science is still out on this. This should take about two hours.
Step #3 the bulk ferment (or should that be fer(wo)ment?)
OK I’m going to spare you (and me) the science – but if you like you can find any number of YouTube bakers drone on about it for hours. Basically this is the bit (probably the critical bit) where our tiny mates in the dough go to work, converting all those carbohydrates into simpler sugars and the yeasts sweats ethanol and burps carbon dioxide (the gas). As the bacteria’s produce both carbon dioxide lactic and acetic acids which gives sourdough it’s name.
Whilst this is happening we are going to stretch and fold 3 times (once each each half hour). We are re-establishing the elasticity. Keep your fingers wet, and , and poke/lift the dough at the edges and stretch and fold it up over itself.
Tell tale signs that it is ready will be a slight but obvious increase in size of around 20%. look for a gassy bottom - visible signs of active fermentation. Lots of tiny trapped co2 bubbles will be noticeable on the exposed dough when you tease it away from the side of the bowl. When it is ready it will feel lighter on that last fold, like its turning into a marsh mallow. When you’ve judged it ready to go give it a final rest for around 10- 20 mins then turn it out and begin the pre-shaping.
Step #4 - Shaping
Ok, so you’re still with me good, we’re nearly there, the tricky bits over so pour a glass of wine (who cares if it’s just after breakfast, time, do breakfast time like it’s 2020).
Shaping is the process where we create what will be the final form we will bake, it consists of a quick pre-shaping and then a more thorough final shaping before it goes into a basket (or colander) to rest and finish the ferment.
step one: this is a good time to pre-heat your oven we suggest 230 or as hot as the oven gets, as you get more confident play with the temperature and baking time to find what works for you and your oven.
step two: lightly dust the surface of the dough as it sits in the container you’ve been fermenting it in. Using wet fingers, get in and around the dough and gently pull it away from the bottom of the bowl - notice the fine network of bubbles forming in the dough beneath the surface. Then using your scraper invert the bowl and let the dough fall out onto the bench.
step three: you can again dust the top of the loaf and then using your scraper with a light push and tuck motion work around the dough forming a ball, and gently lifting the edges from you work surface. Keep the surface tight and imagine, if you will, a small circle in the centre of the ball that as you circle and stretch the ball the circle enlarges and tightens. This surface tension will assist with the crust crispness.
step four: when you’ve got a nice firm ball of dough it’s time to let it relax a little and then repeat the process one final time before scooping it up and placing it upside down onto a (lightly) dusted tea towel over your proofing basket.
step five: let this rest and finish fermenting, it will take maybe 20 minutes, the surface should be slightly resistant to your touch and slowly bounce back when poked.