It takes the best part of a day to make the Moorbakes sourdough bread, so I thought I’d put together a page on how it’s is made….
Step 1: Lunchtime the day before
So I start at about lunchtime and need to work out what I’m going to be baking for tomorrow… Sourdough isn’t something you can make at a moments notice – this is a 20 hour process! So for tomorrow I’ll be making 3 small Maltsters and 3 small Devon Rustics. Fortunately these both use the same starter (white wheat) so I only need to make up one lot of levain.
First job is to make up the levain, or starter. For the above 6 loaves, I need just under 650g of levain – I only keep about 500g of the mother in the fridge, so I use the mother to make the levain for the bread. I take the mother out of the fridge, measure out enough to make up the levain add in flour and water, mix, cover and leave in a warm place for the next 8 or 9 hours. (Not forgetting to top up the mother and put it back in the fridge!)
If I was only making 2 large or 3 small loaves, I could skip this step and take 320g of the mother and use it directly, however it’s impractical to keep much more than that mother in the fridge, so this two-stage process works well and it very easy to scale up if I were making 2 or 4 times the amount of bread I’m making here.
That only took a few minutes, but it’s the start of the (almost) day-long process.
Step 2 – Mix and Knead the Dough
…it’s now a light and airy mix, full of bubbles with a nice tangy smell and taste to it. It smells and tastes like it should (I always taste a tiny bit just in-case!)
This is split between 2 bowls – one has the white + wholemeal mix for my Devon Rustic loaves and one has the Shipton Mill 3-Malts and sunflower seeds mix for the Maltsters.
Add water, salt, a bit of kneading and there we are:
After kneading, a little bit of vegetable oil is rubbed round the bowls and the dough is transferred back into them and covered and left to rise overnight. They’re going to get about 9 hours rising time!
Step 3 – Scale, shape and rest/prove
Now it’s about 7am which isn’t too bad a time to get up. Quite reasonable for some! The dough has risen slowly and gently overnight and now we have 2 full bowls of nice soft and sweet smelling dough:
Nothing special here for people who already make bread – tip the dough out, divide it up using the scales to make sure each piece is the right weight, then pre-shape in preparation for the final shaping on the baking trays:
Step 4 – Decorate/slash and bake
When they’re ready – usually after 45 minutes to an hour, it’s time to get them ready for the oven.
The loaves get a roasting at about 240°C for 11 minutes with a good slug on water in a tray at the bottom to create some steam, then the oven is turned down to about 210°C for a further 21 minutes before they’re checked for readiness and removed to cool.
After that, they’re bagged and labelled and take up to the shop where they’re sold and hopefully enjoyed by happy customers!