Alaska Sourdough Bread

Alaskan MG SD3

Over a period of time, one gets comfortable with certain formulae – whether its with dealing with social situations or baking bread! 🙂 I’ve played with bread for a while now and I’ve gotten comfortable with the Tartine formula. Felt very sticky once upon a time. But, the more I’ve played, the easier it’s got. And then there’s the 1:2:3 formula – another delightful formula that’s less sticky and that’s given me consistent results. But, one thing I’ve always steered away from are the long, overnight, fermentation formulae. I’ve somehow associated long ferments with strong sour tones and no one at home is a fan of sour breads (me included). And I’ve always put off experimenting on these, partly because of my misplaced belief and partly because Ive always been able to make time for baking sourdough bread (about 7 – 8 hours from start to end, in small batches of time).  But all this changed when I came across Teresa Greenway’s Alaska Sourdough Bread. It’s one of the easiest formula’s I’ve played with and perhaps an easier recipe to start with than the Tartine. And let’s face it – its always awesome to have a freshly baked loaf of bread for breakfast!

Here are a few experiments (that’s just me – can’t help experimenting all the time) So, here goes:

130 grams Young Starter @ 100% hydration (About 7 – 8 hours after feeding when it has peaked. I fed mine at 8 am)
230 grams Water
45 grams Milk (Boil and cool to ensure present micro-organisms are neutralised)
10 grams Salt (I use Himalayan Rock Salt or Sea Salt)
450 grams Flour (Unbleached Maida with 3% added wheat gluten. I’ve played with 20% Multigrain flour sometimes and with 20% Emmer – thats Kapli Gehu, sometimes. So essentially, 450 grams of flour equals 3% Gluten, that’s 14 grams plus 20% of other flour like Emmer, etc. which would be 90 grams and the balance is unbleached Maida.)

3 pm (my starter peaks around 7 hours after feeding):
1. Mix the starter and the water first till the starter is dissolved in the water. Add the milk, salt and finally the flour. I use a large glass bowler this.
2. Cover the dough with a kitchen napkin and let the yeast work its magic on the dough.
3. After 2 hours do a stretch and fold (S&F) to the dough. You’ll find the dough nice and elastic. I did this at 5 pm.
4. Repeat the above step again after 2 hours. The time was 7 pm.
5. An hour later (at 8 pm) – that’s 5 hours after I started. the dough had some bubbles along the edges and looked nice and airy. This is when I transferred the dough onto a lightly floured surface, stretched the edges gently and did a Stretch & Fold again. I then turned the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.
6. In the meantime, I prepared the banneton by lining it with a well floured (I use a rice flour and Atta mix) kitchen napkin.
7. 20 minutes later (8:20 pm) I shaped the dough and got some nice tension on the surface. 8. I then transferred the dough, seam side up, into the lined banneton and covered the banneton with another napkin. This was then transferred into a polythene bag (the types that one gets from super-markets).
9. This package was then transferred into the fridge, for an overnight proof (8:30 pm). I always ensure the packet covers the banneton well – you don’t want the dough to dry out in the fridge because it’s exposed to the cold draft.
10.At 6:30 am the following morning, I put my DO into the oven and pre-heated it to 250°C. Around this time, I pulled out the dough from the fridge and let it proof at room temperature for an hour. (Goa is a warm place and an hour of proofing was enough for the dough to pass the finger dent test.)
11. At 7:30 am, I transferred the dough into the pre-heated DO and scored the loaf. I then baked it at 230°C for 15 minutes with the lid on and another 15 minutes with the lid off – by which time, I’d got a gorgeous dark brown hue to the crust. I also used a probe thermometer to check if the inside of the bread has crossed 93°C, but you could just pull it out and knock on the underside to check if it sounds hollow.
12.Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool – for at least an hour.
13. What I like about this formula, is that’s it’s super easy – not too many S&F’s – so less handling and the milk helps its caramelise faster – plus it has a super crackling crust and a delightful moist and chewy crumb. Play and you’ll see what this is one of my favourite formula’s.

More pictures:

Alaskan MG SD1

The blistered crust is delightful and happens thanks to the over-night cold proofing,
Alaskan MG SD2

This paired beautifully with Mamma’s spicy Sardine Curry made in a chatti.
Alaskan Sourdough and Mamm's Fiery Sardine Curry

And here’s an experiment with 20% Emmer

Alaskan SD with Emmer 2

And one with Sumac added just before shaping
Alaskan SD with Sumac 1

This is what the crust of the Sumac loaded bread looked like
Alaskan SD with Sumac3

And here’s what yesterday’s bread looked like. This had 20% Emmer and I dusted it with Semolina. Also, instead of baking this seam-side down and scoring the dough, I baked it seam-side up and let the dough rip naturally – just for kicks. Was awesome for dinner – with some Chicken Xacuti.
2015-11-01 08.12.42
Here’s another look at it – as it came out of the oven in the cast iron double Dutch Oven.
2015-11-01 08.09.28

Excited? Bake your Alaska Sourdough Bread and post it on Happy Baking!

Recipe inspired by Teresa Greenway. Modifications made in some of the above.

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