my first sourdough – multigrain mandarin loaf

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Look who made their first batch of sourdough bread after about a week of capturing yeast, making the starter and feeding it. It’s such a milestone moment for us amateurs coming into bread making, for us to sidestep that storebought, convenient and reliable ‘active dry yeast’. Not that I’m not still a fan of that stuff, but if anything could be more rewarding than making bread from scratch, it’s making your own sourdough from scratch.

 

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For fear that the starter wouldn’t turn out right and instead be an incubator of mould in a jar, I didn’t document the process with pictures, but basically: 50g raisins + 150g water + tablespoon sugar in a sterilised jar left in a cool spot for 5 days until bubbly and the raisins float on top. I then drained out the raisins, added equal amounts of flour to the fermented juice, and left it for 2 more days. On the third day it’s ready for bread making, once it’s been fed 75g water and 105g flour and left for at least 4-8 hrs for optimal yeast activity.

 

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Of course, I didn’t dream up the process, but followed a great teacher of a book called Waltzing Bread, in which the author gives step-by-step instructions from capturing yeast to baking the bread, along with helpful insights. It’s basically a love poem to artisan bread.

And of course, I didn’t have the beginner’s luck and make perfect breads on my first attempt. Given that it’s winter here, it takes twice as long for the starter to reach its peak activity, and guess who couldn’t wait? The same person who almost had a panic attack when the bread still wasn’t rising after one hour. After two hours under warmer conditions, it finally did rise, but not as much as I’m used to seeing with commercial yeast. So, the finished product could’ve been less dense if I had realised that sourdough is supposed to have a longer rise. Alas. It still smelled of sunshine from the mandarins and gave me motivation to try again.

(Given that this was only a half-success, I won’t be providing the recipe until I’m confident I’ve mastered it.)

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