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Our tips on baking traditional sourdough bread
You must use stone ground high quality whole flour
By whole flour, we mean flour that retains every part of the grain and all its nutrition. By “stone ground” we mean just that. That it is milled slow and cool between two stones just like in the middle ages.
You can make your own starter/mother
This is the true magic, because starters/mothers are as individual as people and some are stronger flavoured than others. Really, it’s just whole flour and water which “grows” due to yeasts in your local environment, which makes it bubble and grow in volume. When it does grow, you tip some out and feed the remainder with more flour and water and the whole process takes about four days. You can begin by adding organic grapes or raisins, but the natural yeasts in the air in your home environment will do the job without this. Just more slowly.
Never add vinegar or any other flavouring agents
The “sour” in the bread should come only from the action of the starter. A sourdough taste that hangs on your palate is generally a sign that the bread is not an authentic sourdough because a flavouring agent has been used. Vinegar also kills the natural yeasts.
Let your dough rest in a cool place (not a warm place) to proof
Contrary to what you might think, natural yeasts proliferate in cool areas rather than warm. Warm resting was only introduced with added yeast, as a way to speed up bread production.
Let it rise for up to 30 hours
That’s what we do at Laurent. This will give the bread a light structure and make it more easily digestible since the process allows nearly all the gluten to be used up.
Don’t knead so much as fold the dough
The first rise is fed by the action of natural yeasts in the starter, not by you kneading it. Make your dough and fold it over 6 to 10 times, make your loaf shape, then leave it.
Anyway, these are a few tips from us, or you could just come to a Laurent Bakery and try ours.