Mini Sourdoughs

Recently I was looking through our local homewares shop and found tiny ceramic bread baking pans. That got me thinking back to my attempts at sourdough bread and I thought it would be cool to cook some mini loaves.

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To start, go through the process of creating a sourdough starter. Once it's nice and frothy and doubling in size overnight then you're ready to go.

In addition to the mini bread pans, you'll need:

  • 500g unbleached organic flour
  • 240g tepid water
  • 1 tsp of salt

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add 200g of the starter to the water in a separate bowl and stir. Slowly combine the starter to the dough by stirring and then combining with your hands. If it's quite sticky you might need to add a little flour at a time until it's just soft and doesn't stick easily to your hands.

Place the dough on a floured counter and knead firmly for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Let it rise for 4 - 8 hours (rising time will depend on a number of factors in your kitchen) until it's doubled in size.

Remove from the bowl and knock the air out of the dough. Shape into a ball and divide into 140g balls. Oil the bread pans and add dough to each one and cover with cling film. Let stand for another 2 - 6 hours, until they double in size again. Preheat the oven to 220C.

Once the dough has risen again, cut a slash down the middle of each one, add a little flour to the tops, place in the oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes. Remove and let cool somewhat. Cut and serve - maybe with some Tetsuya's Truffle Butter!

Basic Sourdough Starter

Recently I made some mini sourdough loaves so before I publish that recipe I thought it best to give a rundown of how to make a basic sourdough starter. There seems to be hundreds of ways to create one on the web but I've found this one the easiest and most straightforward.

You need:

  • 1kg unbleached organic flour
  • 1ltr sparkling mineral water (soda water will do as well)
  • 1 canning jar

Sterilise the jar by dropping it fully into some boiling water for a minute. Then add 50g of the flour and 50g of the water and stir. Leave that overnight. Do the same thing for three days in a row.

On the fourth day, remove most of the starter and add 100g of the flour and 100g of the water. Things should start frothing overnight. Repeat this for four days.

On the seventh day your starter should be doubling in size overnight. Once this happens you're ready to go! And remember that the dough should have a distinct sour smell but it should be pleasant. If you have any concerns that it smells off or rotten, throw it out and start again. Trust me, this isn't very hard.

Wholemeal Loaf Bread

While we don't eat much bread (it's the carbs...), I love the process of making different types of loafs and the satisfaction at surprising guests with warm, hand crafted bread. Currently I'm trying to get a sourdough starter going but while that bubbles away I decided to make a wholemeal crusty bread loaf for a lunch get together recently.

Recently I purchased a new application called, "Bread Baking Basics" by Michael Ruhlman. It's a great app and has a number of simple-to-follow recipes and instructions. If you have an iPad and want to bake bread I'll highly recommend it.

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You'll need:

  • 397g bread flour
  • 170g whole wheat flour
  • 340g water
  • 11g salt
  • 3g active dry yeast

Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Pour out onto your surface and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough should be strong and elastic. Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until is has doubled in size.

Knead to knock out any trapped gasses and shape the dough to match your bread pan. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes. Knead again into a tight cylinder and then place into your pan, cover, and rest for another 45 minutes.

Cut a slash down the centre of the dough. Bake for 45 minutes at 230C. Rest for 15 minutes and then cool. Serve with some of Tetsuya's truffle butter!

Tetsuya's Truffle Butter

As you can see in an older post, we visited Tetsuya's a little while back and the first thing we were given was some warm crusty bread and Tetsuya's signature truffle butter with parmesan. There's no other way to describe it than the best butter either one of us has ever tasted.

So I had the chance this weekend to bake some homemade bread (I'll post that later) for a lunch get-together at a mate's place and decided I wanted to recreate the truffle butter to bring along with me.

It's actually quite simple if you can get ahold of Tetsuya's Truffle Salsa. I was lucky enough to pick up a jar at The Essential Ingredient in Rozelle. The stuff isn't cheap - $22 - but it contains 80g of the salsa, which is enough to make two batches of the butter.

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The other two things you need is 160g of really good unsalted butter and 25g of finely grated parmesan. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, set into shape, cover with cling film, and then refrigerate until it's firm.

Trust me, do this one time in your life. The taste is mind-blowing and you will certainly impress your guests.

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