So far we have looked at two loaf options, the first which is made with 100% strong flour, and the second which is a wholemeal loaf made with 300 grams of wholemeal and 200 grams of strong white player. However, within the basic limits of the main recipe we can explore further. Here are some of my favourites.
Dove Farm Malthouse Blend
Dove Farm flours are now readily available in major supermarkets and health food shops. Dove Farm’s Malthouse Blend always goes down well; it is a kind of granary mixture. Simply use 500 grams of this for one of our standard loaves.
You will find grey breads in Germany and across Scandinavia. These breads use a base of strong white flour but use both wholemeal and rye flours to add both taste and texture.
My favourite uses 400 grams of strong white, 50 grams of wholemeal and 50 grams of rye. Alternatively, adding 100 grams or 50 grams of rye to white flour gives an interesting depth to a white loaf.
You can make your sourdough starter with wholemeal flour (and rye) as well as just white. If you know you are making a wholemeal loaf you can top up your starter with wholemeal flour. But if you simply add the wholemeal starter to white flour will give a little extra texture and taste to a white loaf.
Rye flour, you either love it or loathe it. Me, I love rye breads. But they can be very heavy. The good news is that â€” on the continent â€” most of those fantastic rye breads are traditionally made as sourdoughs.
Try mixing 300 grams of wholemeal and 200 grams of rye flour. Or reverse the combinations. If you find these a little heavy then experiment by adding a little white to the mix.
These combinations will give you something that is very similar to the Pain Ancient loaves that you find in the best French Boulangeries.
Rolls andÂ Lemon Rolls
Your sourdough can be used to make roles. Using our standard quantity you should get 10 decent sized rolls.
At the final stage separate the dough into 10 equal parts. Build up the strength of each roll by folding into the centre (as we did with the big loaf).
Flour a tea towel and place the individual roles on top. Fold the tea towel to separate each of the rolls. Leave for an hour to prove. Place on baking tray and bake at full whack for a minimum of10 minutes (mine usually take 12).
Bread really likes lemon. Sometimes I mix the grated zest (but not pith) of a lemon or two with the dough at the stage before I leave the dough to prove. lemon rolls are wonderful.
Beyond Basic Sourdough
Sourdough will always form the backbone of my own bread making. I now the method and the quantities off by heart and the long production time fits in best into a busy day.
If you want to explore further I’d recommend the books of French baker Richard Bertinet. Here you will find recipes for olive oil based doughs and much more besides. His main book â€” Dough â€” comes with a DVD that carries films of Richard making his breads and this might be useful.
If time is tight remember that a standard dough â€” made with commercial yeast â€” will have more taste if the dough is kept in the fridge overnight before proving and baking.