So, this weekend I caught up with some cooking programmes on BBC iPlayer. One episode was The Hairy Bikers, [don't ask] and this time they were riding around on motorbikes in Norway sampling yeast recipes.
One stop was at a bakery famous for it’s sourdough bread and although there wasn’t an actual recipe, because it was a family secret, they said they only used white flour, salt and water, so I should imagine Dave’s basic recipe is spot on to try this.
I was amazed though at how sticky the mix was in all its stages. At all times it was far too sticky to handle. They were insistent their secret was no flour spread on the board to make handling it easier. None! It didn’t need or want to be handled or kneaded. They were insistent….
First of all they had the mother mix. This was added to some flour in the morning and left to rise during the day — very runny.
Later that day, they added flour and salt that was melted in warm water. Once mixed they stirred the dough around in the bowl with their fingers two or three times. Again I stress it was very, very, sticky. Then it was turned out onto a tray, covered and put aside overnight to double. They stressed the exact time would depend on the surrounding temperature.
In the morning it was put onto a board that was swimming in olive oil, picked up and dropped a couple of times, then flopped onto a baking tray. They didn’t shape it, or cut into the top, only prodded it a little, popped a couple of huge bubbles that had appeared, sprinkled some rosemary and olive oil on the top, then left it for an hour or so before baking.
The olive oil and rosemary turns it into what we call Foccachio [sp?] bread, but it’s just as good plain.
I should think it would work beter in summertime over here. My house just doesn’t get warm enough in the winter, but while the details are fresh in my mind, I’m in the process of having a go, just to get the feel of it. If it doesn’t work no worries. Bread never gets wasted in our house. Worst scenario is the birds get it…
When baked it looked absolutely fantastic. It was large and quite flat so no cutting with a bread knife, and had large air pockets. You just tear bits off and spread it with whatever you fancy. As I watched them sample the bread, I kept thinking butter, creamy goats cheese and crunchy, silverskin pickled onions…
Oh God I’m hungry now!