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Sour dough Bread

I keep a lump of about 2-3oz of dough from the last loaf

On Saturday morning I dissolve this in 5floz warm water and mix in 6oz rye flour and 2oz strong white. It is a stickey but firmish dough. Knead to mix then leave in a warmish place in the kitchen, in a bowl covered with cling film.

On Sunday morning, take off the cling film and have a good sniff because it should be delicious and sharply CO2y.

Dissolve in some of 30floz warm water in a big mixing bowl. Add some of 2.5 lbs of strong white flour with 1.5 tsps of quick yeast (such as Doves' Farm) and 6 tsp salt. Then add water and flour and mix in as it goes. Mix it up and scrape out all the flour and dump it onto the worktop which you have cleared of bulbs of garlic and 5mm allen keys.

Wash out the bowl now because it will be a bugger to clean later.

Knead the dough. Wear short sleeves and take rings and watches off.

Knead the dough for about 10 mins and it should go nice and stretchy and begin to fight back towards the end. How wet the dough should be is a matter of experience. I think I tend to have it quite wet, but too wet and it flops before rising. But more water makes it rise more and you can persuade the gluten to develop more.

The kneading action is more of a stretching and folding than bashing. It is fairly relaxing but not if you are in a hurry eg want to go cycling.

Scrape the dough together taking all bits off the worktop, then scrape as much off your hands. The rye makes it sticky which is a pain but rye makes it taste nice.

Now wash the gunk off your hands and this is the tediuos bit. Wash and dry the bowl and tip the dough into it. Cover with oiled cling film and a damp tea towel. Then leave somewhere warmish.

Now how long the dough takes to rise is up to the dough. In winter I can leave it on the boiler and it will rise after 3 hours which is about as long as you can face a ride on sunday morning. In the summer it will take about the same. In a fickle spring day who knows, especially when you have friends visiting. If you do complete sour dough (no added yeast) it is even less predictable and will ruin your life even if it does taste fab (but that is what Brosh is there for).

When it has risen, tip it out again, remembering to clear away the 5mm allen key inner tube whatever has just been in your pockets. Tipping it out is quite fun because it goes like an alien blob thing. Save off 2-3 oz for next week. Oil 2 tins. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and mix in whatever you fancy, eg sesame seeds, more sesame seeds, some other seeds, fennel, poppy, walnuts. Shape into loaf shapes, sprinkle with a lot of sesame seeds and some flour so that it's dry enough outside to pick up and drop into the tin.

Then cover with cling film and go through the rising business again.

Slash the tops with a sharp knife (not always that easy if the dough is wet) and cook. Mine goes in at gas 7 for 10 mins then the top starts to brown so I turn it round for 10 mins more then reduce the heat. Maybe 40-45 total like this. Then take then out and turf out of the tins being carful that all the excess sesame seeds have gone onto a board or clean worktop. Put the bread back in for 10 mins until it is hard and holow when tapped. Scrape the sesame seeds off the worktop and eat them.