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Several friends have been asking me for my bread recipes recently, and also for some information on sourdough bread, which I make very successfully in my bread machine. So here are my recipes, followed by instructions to look after sourdough starter - leaven.
This is what I make in my panasonic SD253 breadmaker. All the breads are baked on the basic setting and XL size. I don't use the nut and raisin dispenser as I've had better results without it.
Asphyxia's wholemeal bread:
3.5 cups wholemeal flour
Optional: 1 cup seeds (I just chuck it in with the rest of the ingredients, I don´t use the raisin dispenser)
Bake using wholemeal bread setting.
2.75 cups wholemeal flour
300ml warm water
2 cups leaven
Optional: 1 cup seeds
Replenish leaven with 1 cup wholemeal flour, 1 cup water
Bake using wholemeal bread setting
(This is like a moist pannetone.)
2.75 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup sultanas soaked overnight in liquer or water or fresh juice
400ml liquid made of: soak liquid, knob of butter, 1 or 2 eggs, milk
Optional: lemon rind, vanilla essence
Breakfast sourdough bread:
(This is a meal in itself.)
2 cups wholemeal flour
3/4 cup super mix (seeds, ground nuts, other flours)
3/4 container chopped dried fruit
2 tsp spice
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups leaven
Replenish leaven with 1 cup flour, 1 cup water
I got my starter from a friend of mine who used to work in a bakery - he tells me it's ten years old. I've heard you can make starter simply by leaving flour and water in a strategic place but I've never done it. This is how I look after my leaven:
It's ok for up to 3 days out of the fridge, then it needs replenishing. To replenish, put starter into a clean bowl, add one cup of water that's a bit warmer than lukewarm, and one cup of flour (can use any flour - I use wholemeal). Mix well, cover, and leave it to sit (doesn't have to be in a warm place). The leaven is ready to use when it's bubbly - can take a few hours. The first few times put it in a glass bowl or jar so you can actually see the bubbles.
When you make bread, use the amount of leaven specified in the recipe, and then straight away replenish the leaven. When you replenish you can use as little as half a cup of flour and half a cup of water if you feel you have too much leaven. You need to replenish every 3 days if you haven't made any bread, or you can put it in the fridge, and take it out and replenish several hours before you bake a loaf.
If you are only baking one loaf a week you might need to chuck out a bit of leaven when you replenish it so you don't end up with a vast amount. The longer a leaven has been sitting since it was replenished, the more sour it will be. So for a sour bread, replenish the leven 24-48 hours before you bake. For a mild bread replenish leaven a few hours before you bake. You will notice in the first 48 or so hours after you replenish the leaven it seems to grow and bubble wonderfully, and then it sinks back down - don't worry, it's not dead, it just needs to be fed again (replenished).
If the leaven goes off or has black water on the top or is mouldy, scrape off the bit that's gone bad, rescue a tablespoon or so of the good stuff from underneath, and replenish that.