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German Sourdough Bread

It was Thursday night, and I wanted to try my rye and whole wheat bread.  I had to get the starter going, because it is suppose to take up to 36 hours to prepare it.


75g rye flour
80ml warm water
pinch of caraway seeds

I started with the rye and water on Thursday night. Didn't have caraway seeds that night,  decided to buy the next day or so. On Friday night, I bought some caraway seeds. After 24 hours in my living room,  the starter didn't seem to have anything happening,  I threw in the caraway seeds,  and stir.  Ok,  stir and I realised it had become a smoother paste.  

36 hours,  Saturday morning,  looking at the paste,  nothing seems to have happened, I think I was suppose to see bubbles?  I researched and found that I'm suppose to keep it at 72F, my living room is way below that.  As my oven is busy working on my Poolish Rye Whole Wheat Bread,  I need to find an alternative.  My son had a box that he made for his school project,  this will do.  We (my son and I) looked for a light that I can put into the box to keep the internal environment warm enough.  And we decided that his study lamp is the best choice.  So,  it looks like those home experiment for hatching an egg.  To add to the heat,  I added a blanket under the box.

After another 12 hours,  the top is still a smooth paste,  I brought the glass bowl up,  hey,  I see bubbles.  Do I or do I not go ahead?  Ok,  I really want to get this going for Sunday morning.  I decided to go ahead and use the starter.  I guess if I had waited for another 12 hours,  I might have gotten a better taste and smell.

So,  I followed the instructions, for dough:

275 Rye Flour
150 Whole wheat flour
150 White Bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup of water
2 tsp yeast

Adding the yeast and water to the starter first, I left it alone and started mixing other ingredients.  Followed by adding the starter with water into the center of the flour. 

The dough turn out to be a little dry,  I can't seem to pick up all the flour.  I decided to add water,  and sort of overdone it,  adding too much water at 1 go,  I quickly pour them out.  Disastrous.  The  dough is so wet.  Ok,  don't panic,  let's work it through.  I started the kneading using Richard Bertinet's Sweet Dough kneading method.  I had to work really hard.  As the dough is already heavy,  I was determined not to add any flour.  Throw,  pull and fold.  I think I did almost 20 times.  The dough seem to started to pull together.  I started to do the traditional kneading,  gently,  and it is starting to get there.  It's not as sticky as before.  Ok,  seems done.  I put into my oiled bowl and put it into the fridge.  It's 11.30pm.  I'm tired.

Somehow I couldn't really sleep,  I guess I was getting worried about my dough in the fridge because it tends to over rise in the fridge.  7.30am,  I sprung out of my bed.  Oh,  my dough had risen nicely.  I slowly,  gently pull the dough out of the glass bowl by the side, slowly spread it out,  it's very cold still,  and did a one fold.  Got to shape it into a ball now.

After about 2 minutes,  I got a nice ball.  I want to get the nice basket lined look,  but my bread basket is not too clean,  I decided to lay it with oiled plastic wrap.  The ball went in.

I found a fantastic way to keep the temperature warm in order to give my dough a nice proofing.  I threw a wet towel over the basket, wrap the whole thing in a towel, put it directly under my table lamp.

At 11am,  I got a nice rise.  Now,  the difficult part,  how do I get it out of my basket?  I decided to line my pizza plate with a parchment sheet,  and bring the dough out using the lined plastic wrap,  threw it onto the parchment sheet and immediately see my dough lost some of its rising.  Gosh,  another disaster!  And ooops,  some part of the plastic wrap got stuck to the bottom,  with much difficulty,  I slowly pulled it off, and my dough deflated further.

After much adjustment,  I just pray for oven spring.  200C and bake for 35 minutes.  This time I decided to put my dough directly on the stand instead of putting on a metal place as I wanted some lines below.

 Oooohhh, after 15 minutes,  I see a good rise.  Thank God!  Somehow,  there were some cracks below, but it kind of looking rustic.  The bread is overall springy.  After 1/2 hour,  I cut the bread to take a look at it. It looks a little dense, and wet.  I decided to put into the oven for another 10 minutes.  

After it cooled,  decided to cut a piece to try,  weird,  the caraway seeds smell and taste is a little over powering.  It is quite chewy though.  And I looked at books on rye bread,  I'm not suppose to eat it right away.  I'm suppose to keep it till the next day and it should taste better.

Ok, I'll be patient for now.

Verdict:  After 6 days it was baked,  I sliced it thinly,  put into the oven to heat up.  I don't like the caraway seed taste, neither does husband and child.  The bread is still good after so many days.  In fact,  after heating up,  it remains soft,  and chewy.  I should have just left the caraway seeds out of the recipe.  Now,  I wonder how I'm going to finish the loaf.

Baked on 1 Feb 2010