This easy egg-free recipe will give you a lovely soft sourdough bread which is made using a special firm sourdough starter, lievito madre. If you prefer a 'sweeter' bread, rise both starter and dough at a warm-room temperature between 25-35˚C.
- 100 g lievito madre
- 100 g organic flour (white, wheat or spelt)
- 50-55 g water, filtered if possible
- 5-10 g organic raw sugar or honey
- 125 g activated lievito madre
- 600 g organic flour (white, wheat or spelt)
- 260-280 g water
- 140 g thick Greek yoghurt
- 40-60 g extra virgin olive oil or butter
- 2 tsp sea salt, finely ground
- 2 tsp organic raw sugar or rice malt syrup
Spinach and cheese filling (optional)
- 150 g spinach leaves
- 250 g butter, cold
- Grated cheddar cheese, to taste
- Grated parmesan cheese, to taste
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.
Resting time: overnight + 3-5 hours
For the lievito madre
1. Mix all into a stiff dough, shape into a ball and rise in a closed container until doubled (6-12hrs, up to 24 in winter).
For the dough
2. Use a digital scale to weigh all ingredients and add to a bowl. The amount of water added will vary slightly depending on the thickness of your yoghurt.
3. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, stir the ingredients together until they form a cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto bench and rest with bowl placed upside down over it for 30-45 minutes.
3. Knead the dough by hand for 10-15 minutes using a stretch and fold method, or using your fingertips, throw the dough into the air then slap it back down onto the bench. It should develop elasticity and become shiny and smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. This can be done at room temperature or a combination of room temperature and refrigerated.
Pre-heat oven to 235°C.
4. Turn out onto a bench, then stretch and fold your dough 2-3 times. Rest again for 15-20 minutes to relax the gluten. Continue with spinach and cheese filling or shape as desired and skip to ‘Baking’ step.
For the filling
6. While dough has been resting, in a food processor, blitz butter and spinach together until the mixture resembles butter crumbs.
7. Stretch the dough into a rectangle measuring 20 x 25 cm and generously scatter with spinach butter and grated cheese. Roll tightly from the narrow end into a log shape. Cut vertically into thirds exposing the filling, then loosely plait three strands together. Mist the loaf with plenty of water and set aside for a final rise for 1 hr (up to 2 hrs during winter).
8. Bake at 235°C for 10 minutes then reduce the oven to 190°C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loaf reads 95°C. If you are unsure whether the loaf has cooked through, turn the oven off and without opening the door let it sit for a further 10 minutes.
For a soft crust, straight after baking brush loaf or rolls with melted butter or olive oil.
Cool on the tray before slicing.
• This bread is suitable for freezing and will keep for up to two months.