My foray into sourdough ciabatta is over, for the time being. Whilst I was so diverted, all the seeds and grains I had previously bought had been ignored. It was time to get them out and make something healthy and virtuous.
This recipe is vaguely based on Yoke Mardewi’s multigrain sourdough bread from her book, Wild Sourdough. I have made this recipe in various guises quite a few times. It calls for 300g of soaked grains and/or seeds (fresh and roughly crushed). You can use whatever you like. At times, I have used a combination of oats, barley, chia, quinoa, linseed (flax) and/or sunflower seeds but this time I chose a simple wheat bread. I also changed Yoke’s wholemeal to bread flour ratio – I didn’t want my bread too heavy.
I wanted cracked wheat but could not find any so I gave some wheat kernels a few pulses in my Vitamix… and voila! Cracked wheat. You could also crack wheat in a Thermomix or any other quality blender. I once tried to crack some in my Breville food processor but nothing happened. The wheat kernels just flew around the bowl. If you can’t find cracked wheat and haven’t any facility to crack whole wheat, use whole wheat kernels or burghul.
Take your starter out of the fridge and prepare:
- 100g old starter
- 100g rainwater or filtered water
- 100g bread flour
Leave in a warm place.
In a separate bowl, mix together 300g cracked wheat and 300g of water then set aside.
Measure out 200g starter.
Take 50g of the remaining starter, feed with 50g of bread flour and 50g rainwater or filtered water and put back in the fridge.
- the soaked cracked wheat and any water left in the bowl
- 200g wheat starter (100% hydration)
- Approximately 500g rainwater or filtered water (extra)
- 800g bread flour
- 100g wholemeal bread flour
- 4 tsp salt
- Mix all the ingredients in your mixer bowl (except the salt) until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 20 minutes. Hold a bit of the water back and add it as you think you need it during the kneading.
- Add the salt and knead the dough in an electric mixer for 5 minutes or by hand until it is smooth.
The dough should clear the sides of the bowl of the mixer and, near the end of the 5 minutes, begin to clear the bottom of the bowl. If it clears the sides and the bottom early in the kneading process, add a bit of the water you held back. I started out with 525g of water, put 400g in originally, and kept 1/2 cup (125g) aside. I used about 100g of the extra water, hence, the 500g suggestion. If you decide to use other grains and/or seeds, your water content will differ because different grains absorb different amounts of water.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and leave for 20-30 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bench and do a stretch and fold. Return the dough to the oiled bowl.
- After 20-30 more minutes, divide the dough in two. Stretch and fold each half and then shape the dough, either into 2 boules (balls) or 2 batards. I decided to make two sandwich loaves so I made 2 batards and then placed them right side up in my prepared bread tins. (My tins are 24cm long and 10.5cm wide at the top.)
If you are making free-form loaves, place the loaves upside down in bowls lined with cloth and generously sprinkled with flour, or in bannetons.
- Leave the dough at room temperature and allow it to nearly double in size. Mine took 10 hours! I don’t think my starter likes winter.
- If you are making free-form loaves, follow the baking instructions in my Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters post.
- If you are making sandwich loaves: place your ceramic tile(s) on a shelf in the bottom third of your oven and preheat your oven to its hottest temperature. Preheat for 1 hour.
- When ready to bake, place tins in the oven on the tile(s).
- Turn the oven to 235˚C and cook for 10 minutes. Spray the loaves 2 or 3 times with water in the first few minutes.
- Reduce temperature to 210˚C and cook another 30 minutes.
- Take loaves out of oven and release them from their tins. Cool on a cake rack.
- Feel virtuous.
Remember, if you live in Perth, the South West or thereabouts, you are more than welcome to my sourdough starters. I have a wheat starter and a rye starter.