Baking artisan sourdough bread is very time-consuming and uses a natural fermentation process similar to that of making wine and cheese. “To yield the best results is to take your time, and to extract all you can out of high-quality ingredients,” says Michael Klausen, Brasserie Bread’s Head Artisan Baker.
- 100 g (⅔ cup) unbleached organic plain flour, plus approximately 9 kg extra, to feed
- 100 g figs, torn
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to add 100 g (⅔ cup) unbleached organic plain flour and 120 ml water every 8 hours for 1 month to make this starter. Routine is the key to encourage the growth and development of a strong strain of wild natural yeast.
Combine flour with figs and 120 ml water. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature overnight or until mixture begins to ferment. It will smell pleasantly sour and small bubbles will appear on the surface.
Strain starter, then place 220 g in a clean container, discarding the rest. Add 100 g flour and 120 ml water and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature. Continue this process (weighing out 220 g starter into a clean container and adding 100 g flour and 120 ml water) every 8 hours for the next month. Now you’re ready to bake. Continue to feed the starter daily and keep indefinitely.
Photography Chris Chen
As seen in Feast magazine, October 2013, Issue 25. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.