I decided to try my hand at making sourdough after I found a really cool book in one of those discount bookstores.
I was all set to source my organic grain, sprout it, activate it, grind it and make my bread.
But I found that even the best gluten flours still upset my tum a bit.
So I gave up for a while.
And then we bought a loaf of Gluten Free Precinct Buckwheat and Chia loaf and it was DIVINE! Looking on the back of the packet, I worked out what flours I would need to make a loaf like theirs.
And I think I have it.
It's amazing. It's chew, it bends, it slices well, it's got a nice sour taste, and best of all, it doesn't upset my tummy. WINNING!
BUT it does take ages to make. Like days. But most of the time is just waiting around. So I do the steps on different days, there is really only a day that you need to hang around and babysit the bread.
So here we go.
Gluten Free Buckwheat and Chia Sourdough
First up, let's make the starter.
It took me 7 months to get a good starter where I did not need to use commercial yeast to get my bread to rise.
If this isn't your thing, you can just use commercial yeast to make the leven.
Or you can buy a sourdough starter, or maybe someone you know has been making one.
It's worth doing if you plan to make bread often.
In a clean bowl combine:
1/2 cup flour (I used spelt because I started with buckwheat and it didn't work, but feel free to try buckwheat and see how you go and email me about it! My friend took my starter and fed it rye flour and it worked a treat)
1/2 filtered water or pineapple juice (here the pineapple juice adds the correct acidity to get your starter going. You can however just use water, or water and a squeeze of lemon juice or a probiotic capsule, it's really up to you. They all work.)
Leave out, uncovered on the bench and stir as many times a day as you can to aerate with natural wild yeasts. Keep it covered with a damp cloth overnight to stop it drying out and bugs getting to it.
DAY TWO-DAY SEVEN
To your starter add
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
Repeat day one process.
Split your starter in half and gift one half to a friend.
Feeding your half starter with
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon water
DAY EIGHT - DAY FOURTEEN
To your starter add
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon water
Repeat day one process.
On Day FIFTEEN your starter will be ready to bake your first loaf. BUT you will still need commercial yeast to make a good loaf. It took me 7 months to get a good enough starter to make bread without adding yeast. I did the initial 2 weeks of feeding. Then I would put my starter in the fridge for a week or so and then take it out from the fridge 3-4 days before I wanted to bake a loaf and feed it with 1 tablespoon flour and1 tablespoon water, for 3-4 days and then remove 2 tablespoons of starter for my loaf and then pop it back in the fridge. I probably did this 2-3 times a month for the 7 months.
So let's get onto the bread making.
With bread making, I have found weighing the ingredients MUCH better for resulting in a good loaf. I use my thermomix, but you can use scales and kneed it the old fashioned way.
Make the leven
For the leven you will need:
2 tablespoons of your starter (or 1 pack dried yeast)
75 g of warm water (around 50degC)
75 g of flour (here I use spelt as I find it feeds the yeast better. Feel free to try rye or buckwheat)
1/4 teaspoon of commercial yeast if your starter is still young and needs a little help
Weigh all your ingredients and add them together.
If you have a thermomix, you can mix them on speed 3/50deg/4min and then leave it.
Otherwise in a large mixing bowl and whisked with a fork if fine.
Leave your leven covered for 12 hours/overnight/till whatever time you can get to it the next day.
Start the dough
In a nutribullet or thermomix or blender, grind 100g of chia seeds (if this is too hard, just use 100g of hemp seeds, they are soft enough that they don't need to be ground)
Either do this in your bowl or thermomix bowl.
To the leven add:
525g of warm water (about 50degC)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
Mix the leven through the water:
Either in your thermomix speed 3/50deg/4min or
In your bowl, with a whisk (don't worry if you can't get the leven totally dissolved)
To this water/leven mixture add:
100g ground chia seeds (or 100g of whole hemp seeds)
90g psylium husks
300g buckwheat flour
200g tapioca starch
Mix the flours together with the leven/water mix. This can be done by hand in your bowl or in the thermomix on the knead function.
The dough will look pretty ordinary. Shaggy and unattractive and dry. But don't worry. The only thing you need to worry about it that there is no flour showing. Just make sure all the flour and seeds have been mixed into the dough and are in contact with moisture.
Next is the autolyse phase. Here, the cultures are breaking down the proteins in the flour and the flours are properly absorbing all the water. So leave your shaggy unattractive dough on the kitchen bench in a big fat lump covered with a damp cloth overnight or until you can get to it the next day. This resting stage needs to be at least 4 hours but I've left it for more like 24 and it was still fine.
You can knead the dough by hand or in the thermomix. When incorporating the salt, I find it easier to do it by hand as the whole amount of dough is too much for the thermomix to handle. Which is why after I add the salt, I will divide the dough into 2, 3 or 4 ball to make smaller loaves that the thermomix can handle.
THIS IS THE DAY YOU WILL NEED TO BE AROUND YOUR BREAD.
To your shaggy dough add
1 1/2 tablespoons of salt dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
You will need to incorporate this by hand, adding a little water at a time until all the water and salt is incorporated.
Now, divide the dough into 3 equal portions.
You are now going to knead your dough a few times.
I find three is enough, but you can go up to 6, in theory, the more kneading, the springier the loaf.
You can do this by hand or in the thermomix, either way, I find dividing the dough makes the kneading easier.
Here on the right we have the dough after the salt has been added but before it has been kneaded. On the right is the same dough after it has had one round of kneading in the thermomix.
If using the thermomix, for each loaf, using the knead function, process each portion of dough for 1 minute. If doing it by hand, knead each portion of your dough individually by hand for 1 minute.
Allow your dough to rest for at least 30 minutes (not set in stone - I have left them for more like 2 hours and its still fine) and then repeat at least twice (2 times) more - totally 3 rounds of kneading for each loaf.
Using your hands, shape your portions of dough into loaves, you can make them round or oval, whatever you like. Place these loaves either in separate tins or all together on a pizza tray (it's a round oven tray with holes in the base).
Allow to rest in a cool spot overnight/till whenever you have time the next day.
Loaves, ready for resting overnight and baking in the morning, or whenever you get around to it the next day.
IT'S TIME TO BAKE!
Don't worry if your loaves haven't risen a lot overnight, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
Using a sharp knife, make a cut in the top of each of your loaves.
Now I have a little trick when it comes to baking. You want there to be lots of steam in the oven when you put your loaves in so that they puff up.
So I leave a bunch of trays in the oven and crank the oven up to as hot as it goes. Then I put a oven safe dish filled with boiling water in the bottom of the oven.
When the oven is as hot as it is going to get, I pour some boiling water, about 2-3 cups over the loaves, this works best if they are on a pizza tray as the excess water just falls through, (if you're using tins, I would just brush the loaves with warm water instead). Then quick as you can, pop the bread in the oven. Keep the heat high for 10 minutes and then, without opening the oven door, turn the oven down to 200DegC and allow the loaves to keep cooking for another 20min. You will know when your loaves are done when they are dark and when you take them out, turn them over and tap them, they sound hollow. Don't be afraid to bake them for a long time until they are quiet dark, they are heavy loaves that need time to cook all the way through.
Once the loaves are done, take them from the oven and allow them to cool completely before you slice them. This is because they will still be cooking, so try and resist the temptation for hot bread, at least try and leave it until it is mostly cooled. You can put a clean tea towel over the loaves as they cool to help them cook all the way through and keep their crust soft.
You can see the tray I bake my loaves on, it has holes in the bottom. This allows teh steam to get up all around the loaves and they can rise really well.