Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wholemeal Multigrain Sourdough Damper

Equipment for Bread Making
You could use the benchtop, but I prefer a big mixing bowl for this bread. I'm using my bread bowl I made out of stoneware clay with a copper red glaze finish. John and Gail Sadlier from the Port Hacking Potters helped me make this bowl while I had a broken hand. Its really special to me because of that and because its not as even as my other bowls, but I like the personally made feel of it, and the warm colours almost will the bread to rise in such a glorious bowl!  I was inspired to make it by seeing Daniel Stevens' make bread in his special ceramic bowl at the River Cottage, and this recipe is adapted from the 'Basic Bread Recipe' in the River Cottage Bread Book. I added honey and various seeds, with less salt.

In additon to a mixing bowl, you will benefit from having the following at hand:

- water spray bottle - for spraying loaves before baking
- measuring cups and spoons
- digital set of scales that can measure increments of 5g or less
- baking tray or baking stone - bread is best baken on a hot stone; e.g. paving stone from hardware shop.
- dough scraper - scraping work surfaces clean during kneading
- peel - a sheet of wood or metal with a handle for sliding bread into the oven
- wooden boards
- long serrated knife (for slashing)
- linen cloth for proving
- plastic bin liner bags for rising

Wholemeal Multigrain Sourdough Damper

Essential Ingredients:

500g wholemeal organic plain flour
500g organic plain white flour
15g fine salt
10g powdered dry yeast
600ml warm water

Optional extras:
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil or other fat
A piece of old dough or a ladleful of sourdough starter
2 handfuls of extras: I used a mix of linseeds, poppy seeds and sunflower seeds
2 handfuls of coating: I used a mix of linseeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds, quinoa and sunflower seeds
200ml extra water (if coating with seeds)


Mix honey, dry yeast and 100ml of the warm water together in a small cup and set aside.

Mix the dough. Combine flour, a ladleful of sourdough starter, the yeast-honey water (should eb a little frothy), the rest of the warm water. With one hand mix to form a rough dough. 

Add the salt and the olive oil and mix together, then turn out the dough onto a work surface such as a clean benchtop with ample flour nearby, in a little pile next to you.
 Shape into a round by laying your dough smooth side down and gently deflate the dough with your finger pads. Then, fold an edge into the centre and continue in a circular way until you get back where you started.
Knead the dough until it is as smooth and satiny as you can make it. This will take about 10 minutes. Start by washing and re-flouring your hands. The dough is VERY sticky - this is normal, of course. It will seem to glue itself to the work surface. Daniel Stevens says "Good. You want it to stick. Kneading is all about stretching the gluten..".

Stretch the dough by placing your fingers and palm onto the dough and pushing down and away at arms length - wiping the sticky dough into a smear across the benchtop. Scrape and roll the dough back towards you (you may need the dough scraper here) turn the dough roughly 90 degrees and repeat.

After a good 5 minutes the dough will have tightened considerably and you must adapt by using shorter strokes during kneading. Continue until you have been kneading about 10 minutes and it should be right.

Now turn the dough over, placing hands palms up on either side of dough and sliding in opposite directions pulling the dough underwards...this stretches the upper surface down and under.

Place in well floured mixing bowl and leave to ferment and rise until doubled in size (about 45 mins in a slightly warm spot in summer, a warm slightly sunny spot in Autumn, a warm sunny spot in winter). 
Deflate the dough by tipping it out onto the bench and gently pressing all over with finger pads. Then form into a round as above and cover and let rise again. You can do this up to four times. I did it twice so I could have the loaf ready for lunch.

Prepare for baking

Divide the dough into the loaves you want to bake. This recipe makes two small loaves, 10 rolls or one large round damper like I did. Shape into rounds and add coatings by covering the dough in water froma shallow bowl and rolling in coatings. I used Chia, Linseeds, Sunflower, Poppy and Quinoa seeds.

Let the coated seeded loaf prove (rise) covered in a plastic bag on a floured wooden board for around about 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (highest gas mark) with baking stone or tray inside, as well as a dish at the bottom for water (for steam).
Have ready a water sprayer, tea towel, and boiling water from the jug.
When proved, remove tray from oven and quickly pour into the dish (still inside the oven) the boiling water. Close door - try not to let much heat out. Slide the loaf onto the tray from the oven and spray all over with water. Slash with a serrated knife a couple of times then put into oven - quickly!
Bake at 250 degrees C in a fan forced Gas oven for 10 minutes. Then, turn down to 200 degrees C if the crust looks pale, 180 degrees C if it is noticeably browning. Bake until loaves are well browned and crusty: about 10-20 minutes for rolls, 30-40 minutes for small loaves, 40-50 minutes for large loaves.  It should be ready when it sounds kind-of hollow when tapped.
Leave to rest 10 minutes while setting the table with nice cheeses and warm autumn salads.
Then slice thickly while everyone watches waiting to try a piece!

Warm garlicky lemon bean salad

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