The first ever Rude Health loaf has finally hit the shelves using our Sprouted Spelt Flour. It’s being made by none other than Peter Cooks Bread, winner of the 2014 World Bread Awards.
And so we jumped on a train to Ledbury, and went behind the scenes at the Peter Cooks Bakery to get a proper crumb shot of the loaf itself and to find out how to go about making one (or probably a few) of our own.
It is important to note that real bread making truly is a labour of love – it needs plenty of time, nurturing and dedication. Be prepared to start a full-time relationship with your bread. Or just buy yours at Ceci Paolo (Ledbury), Greenlink Organics (Malvern), or Fodder (Hereford).
Make your own Sourdough Starter
First things first, what on earth is a starter?
A sourdough starter is the cultivated wild yeast needed for baking. Wild yeast is the key to a brilliant sourdough. Traditionally, we only used wild yeast in our baking before commercial, mass produced instant yeast came about and replaced the wild sort because it’s easier and quicker use, and it proofs our loaves in a fraction of the time.
So why do we bother?
Ultimately because the wild yeast gives our loaves that complex and interesting flavour as well as that sturdy, springy and chewy texture that we enjoy so much.
No need to buy yours on Ebay. All you need is flour, water and patience. Peter recommends using unbleached all-purpose flour instead of whole grain flour when you are starting out as the results are almost always a lot more predictable – this is a live food after all.
Large plastic container (not metal)
Making sourdough starter takes about 5 days. This starter uses equal parts flour and water, a 1:1 ratio.
4 ounces strong bread flour
4 ounces water
Weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with cling film.
Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 20°C to 25°C (like the top of the fridge) and let sit for 24 hours.
Each day you will need the “feed” the starter with the same amount of fresh flour and water as day 1.
As the wild yeast grows stronger, the starter will become more frothy and sour-smelling. On average, this process takes about 5 days, but it can take longer depending on the conditions in your kitchen. As long as you see bubbles, continue feeding it regularly.
Once ready, start making your bread. You can keep the rest of your starter in the fridge.
Make your own Sprouted Spelt & Honey Sourdough Loaf
56g Whole-wheat Spelt Flour
264g White Spelt Flour
160g Spelt Levain (or wheat as above)
16g Local Honey
Mix / Knead
Mix the sprouted whole spelt flour, white and whole-wheat spelt flours together. Add in the water, honey and spelt levain to hydrate the flour. Then knead for 5 minutes. Leave for 30 minutes and then mix in the salt and knead for a further 2-3 minutes.
Bulk Fermentation / Folding
Leave to bulk-ferment for one hour.
Fold the dough, stretching the furthest end away from you out and then back in ¾ of the way and then repeat the same to the other end. Turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat this process and then flip the dough over so you have a nice tight bundle of dough, with the layers revealed from the folding on the side. This folding helps to develop the gluten in the flour, which will enable you to shape your loaf as you like and to get a good rise as the gluten traps the carbon dioxide released from the fermentation process.
Continue bulk-fermentation for one hour.
Repeat above fold.
Continue bulk-fermentation in the fridge for 2 hours.
Pre-shape your loaf into its desired shape. Leave to rest for 5-10 minutes, then mould again into its final shape and place upside down in a well-floured banneton.
Place in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Tip the dough out of the banneton and onto a peel or baking tray, slash with your desired cut and place in a hot oven for 30-35 minutes.