Super Christmas present

 

If you haven’t received a Dutch dough whisk for Christmas, you just don’t know what you are missing!

This handy culinary tool was bestowed on our kitchen by friends Liz and Dave.  I suspect that it may be designed for somewhat looser yeasted batters but is also perfect with sourdough mixes.  Here’s the triumphant ‘hybrid’ sourdough recipe that produced both a baguette and batard (silent S):

200g Sourdough starter (fed within the last 24-48 hours).

7g dried organic yeast.

One teaspoon sugar.

About 350g warm water.

500g strong white bread flour.

250g wholemeal or other interesting bread flour.

10g salt.

A good slug of olive oil.

 

Mix the dried yeast with the sugar, a tablespoon of water and tablespoon of bread flour to make a liquid paste and leave in a warm place for an hour until fizzing.

Mix the bread flours and salt together, making a crater in the centre of the bowl.

Add the sourdough starter and fizzing yeast mix; fold the flour in to the centre adding more water and stir with your trusty Dutch dough whisk.

Add the olive oil.

Continue to mix by hand until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough on to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes – the surface should spring back when pressed.

Return to a clean bowl  that has been lightly floured or sprayed with a little oil, cover and leave to rise in a cool place overnight until it’s doubled in size. The front porch is ideal!

Turn the dough on to a floured surface and press flat to expel all the air.

Divide the dough and shape for your containers.  Perhaps a proving basket for the batard and a baguette mould.

Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to Gas 9  and place a roasting tin on the bottom.

Transfer the batard from the basket to a baking tray, dust with flour and slash surface with sharp knife.

Reduce the oven to Gas 7, place batard and baguette in to oven and pour a cup of water in to the hot roasting tin – watch out for instant steam.

Bake for 25 minutes and test if the bread is done: knock the bottom to hear if it sounds hollow or insert a probe thermometer which should reach 88-99C (more to the top end).

If necessary, turn the bread over and return to the oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking the base and centre.

Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before slicing.  Delicious with smoked salmon now that we have re-discovered the pack down the back of a fridge drawer – thankfully it is still in date!

 

Tip if some of your vegetables are looking weary: broccoli responds very well if the base of the stalk is sliced off and it is stood in a little water in the fridge for 12 hours or more – it becomes far more turgid as the water is taken up.  Cauliflower and cabbage are likely to respond too.