Fruit & Seed Wholegrain Sourdough Bread [Busy Schedule Friendly]

I absolutely adore my sourdough bread with some fruit jam, butter, coffee and hard-boiled eggs. However, when I find that my food judge and self proclaimed bread snob, aka hubby, also helps himself to a ‘couple’ of slices everyday, and lets me know when supplies are running low, I am assured that I’m not just biased – my recipe must be really edible.  
As you already know, work + studies + 3 kids + everything in-between keeps me on the go and pretty busy. So, if can make sourdough bread, you, my busy friend, can. You just have to want it really bad. Oh, and the aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven…mmmmm…..I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it will make you feel. 
Some of the pictures might be a little blurred because I’m just too lazy to get the camera and then to download the pictures from the gadget afterwards, so I use my phone. I will get better, I promise. 

TIME

This recipe takes me around 2 days BUT (before you run far far away) the hands-on time required is only 30-40 mins + oven time of approximately 45 mins to 1 hour.You can seriously do this and get hooked on it too. Trust me. It’s easy. I don’t do difficult things. 

INGREDIENTS

  1. Sourdough starter
  2. ½ Cups Wholemeal Flour (You can use any other flour. Sometimes I make wholegrain flour by blending rolled oats in my coffee blender when I’ve run out of regular flour. hehe)
  3. ¼  Cups Water
  4. 2/3 Cup Sultanas
  5. 2/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds
  6. 2/3 Cup Rolled Oats
  7. 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  8. 2 Tablespoons Honey
  9. ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  10. Any other seed e.g. linseed (I keep forgetting to buy this, but I used to add about half cup as well)

BEFORE YOU START

You will need a Sourdough Starter to be able to make sourdough bread. You can make your own sourdough starter. A nourished kitchen has a post that teaches how to do this. You can also get a sourdough starter from your local health food or bakeries or friends. I got mine from my colleague. 
Each time you want to bake a batch of sourdough bread, take out your starter from the fridge and feed your ‘colony’ with about 1/2 cup of flour, adding water until you get a thick runny consistency. Leave in a warm spot for 1 to 3 hours or until it looks bubbly like the second picture in the collage below. 

HOW DID I LEARN TO MAKE SOURDOUGH BREAD? 

My colleague made me a loaf of sourdough bread and I loved the taste; the fact that it was homemade + devoid of most unnecessary additives; and that it contained whole-grains. He described his baking process and I felt like it was ‘doable’ and I could give it a try. When the day arrived, I got a bit confused and checked a couple of websites, and there were a lot of them, but using a mix of recipes wasn’t a good idea. My first two attempts failed. I ate them. However, by trial and error, I found that a simple understanding of how sourdough yeast was different from commercial yeast; simplifying my baking process and allowing my dough to take the time it needed for me to be able to do this in my busy schedule helped me get my current recipe. I don’t wait for my frozen supplies to finish before starting another batch, so I don’t feel hurried. These days, it’s like clockwork for me. I know I have to make bread every fortnight. I still use store bought bread for sandwiches. 

METHOD

STEP 1: Place 1 cup of wholegrain flour in a mixing bowl
STEP 2: Measure out 1 cup of your happy bubbly starter
STEP 3: Pour the starter into the mixing bowl

STEP 4: Mix starter and dry flour together
STEP 5: Add 1 cup of water and mix until mixture is runny like a pancake mixture
STEP 6: Cover bowl with tea towel and leave in a warm place for 3 to 24 hours. [Around 3 hours to 4 hours, the mixture should be frothy over the top and you can progress to the next stage. I like to leave mine for 24 hours until it ferments and looks like the fourth picture above. The more fermented, the more sour the bread]

Oooh I would be getting excited round about now because we’re almost on the home stretch.

STEP 7: Add Oats
STEP 8: Add Sunflower seeds
STEP 9: Add any other seeds you like. Yes I know I could have merged steps 7 + 8 + 9. I’m just drawing it out on purpose. [Now pause & remember that rolled oats are whole grains and Sunflower seeds are full of healthy fats and feel proud that even though you’re a busy on-the-go professional, you’re eating & feeding your family whole foods]. OK that’s enough, chop chop, we’ve got a loaf of bread to bake today baby. 
 

STEP 10: Next you want to add in the Sultanas, so do so. 
STEP 11: Add the honey and the olive oil

STEP 12: Add the salt
STEP 13: Add 1/4 cup of water and mix everything together
STEP 14: Alternate between adding more flour and mixing until your dough literally overpowers your biceps 

STEP 15: Once your biceps have conceded defeat, dust your kitchen bench/table with flour and scoop out your dough onto the surface
STEP 16: Knead that dough baby, like you just don’t care, adding flour until you have a sticky but not wet dough. [I find that when my dough is hard and dry, it doesn’t rise well]. You don’t want it runny though, in which case I suppose it would not qualify as a dough.
STEP 17: Now you’re ready for action baby. Grease your bread pan [I use some sort of casserole/lasagna dish? To be honest, I use anything that can survive a 1 hour sentence in the oven. So seriously, you can do this!]
STEP 18: Shape your dough to fit your pan/dish and place it in. If you want expert opinion on how to shape your dough, watch this. I’m not an expert but my bread turns out OK. 
STEP 19: Cover bowl with tea towel and place in a warm spot. [Because I’m usually doing this part after I’ve returned from work, and I want to sleep at a reasonable hour, I create a warm moist environment to speed up the next rise. If you’re doing this after work and have to make dinner, it’s best to do this first and pop it in the oven to rise, then get on with your evening routine while the yeast do what they do best. To help the rising process, I warm up my oven to 100 degrees C for a few minutes, then I turn it off. I place some boiling water in two small ramekins and put them in the bottom of the oven. Then I run two tea towels under hot water from the tap and wring them. In the oven, I place the bread pan on one of the tea towels, and then I cover the bread with the other warm tea towel. My dough loves this environment and rises in 3 hours. See below picture] Truth be told, sometimes I forget to turn off the oven during the warm up and kill the yeast. I usually find out 3 hours later when the yeast has not risen as usual, I kick myself in the sheen and bake the bread anyway. 

STEP 20: When your bread has risen to about double it’s size, take out your bread pan and tea towels and crank up your oven to 230 degrees Centigrade. I leave my ramekins in and you can actually tip the water out and replace with another batch of boiling water to help moisten the oven during the bake. 
STEP 21: Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. 
STEP 22: Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. [Once out of the oven, I’m usually heading to bed, so I wrap up the hot bread in a tea towel, place on a cooling rack and slice the bread the next day. I find that this makes the crust not to difficult for me to slice into].
FINAL STEP: Make your favorite beverage and enjoy your bread with your yummy jam and butter.

THOUGHTS

My bread is usually not as light as the shop bought bread, and I don’t mind it because it is actually filling. One of the reasons would be all those oats, and seeds and fruits. However, the softer your dough is, the lighter it will be. I will keep experimenting  with this. 

STORAGE: I place the sliced bread in a large plastic bowl and store them in the freezer. They are easy to thaw once you pop them in a toaster and they last me forever, only, we get through them in a fortnight or less. 

Have you ever made sourdough bread? Do you have any tips or tricks? Well, don’t keep them to yourself, let me know in the comments below. 

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