Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

technique

Starting a Sourdough

technique, BreadTove Balle-PedersenComment

I often use sourdough in my baking. Personally I think that a young sourdough gives bread a nice delicate taste, and a chewy  crumb. You might think that sourdough breads are very acidic, and the San Francisco kind is very acidic. Too acidic to my taste. But after tasting Basic country bread from Tartine, I knew, I had to bake this mild sourdough bread. My relationship with sourdough started there and then.
Initially I bought a sourdough online to get started right away. Maybe because I thought it would be difficult to make your own. But now I do believe, that I need a recipe for sourdough here on my blog. 

I started up a new sourdough after Claus Meyers recipe. Meyer has been a pioneer in the Danish kitchen. And right now he is trying to build up a Danish/Nordic style bakery restaurant at Grand Central Station i New York. His bakery is already among the 12 best bakeries in NY according to Zagat. 

Here is how to start a sourdough from scratch.

Ingredients:

  • 350 ml (1½ cup) water
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup dark rye flour

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a plastic jar, make sure you don't have any lumps in the "batter." Let the sourdough sit on the kitchen counter for 4-5 days, with the lid loosely placed on top. Whisk the "batter" 1-2 times every day. 

After the 4 days the batter is starting to bubble and get an acidic smell, this means that the sourdough is ready to use. If the batter isn't sour yet, let it sit on the counter for another 1-2 days. 

Now you have a few options. Do you want to have your sourdough living on the kitchen counter? This is recommended if you bake every day or every other day. You need to feed the sourdough every 5-6 days, and you need to bake with the sourdough the first 8-24 hours after the feeding*.

You can keep your sourdough in the refrigerator in between feeding, this is recommended if you do not bake with it all the time. Read more about keeping and feeding a sourdough here: Sourdough - Keeping and Feeding.

* Feeding: take ½ cup sourdough (discard the rest), ½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup water. Mix it well and let it sit covered on the kitchen counter for minimum 8 hour before using. 

Sourdough - Keeping and Feeding

techniqueTove Balle-PedersenComment
A Sourdough man in a cup

A Sourdough man in a cup

I often use sourdough in my baking. I like the texture and flavor the sourdough give baked goods. I started using my sourdoughs 5 years ago, and they are still going strong. I was somewhat unsure how to start my sourdough, so I bought it online at KingArthurFlour.com. I divided it in two, feeding one with rye flour (for Danish rye bread) and one with whole wheat (for breads like Basic country bread a la Tartine). I bake with a young sourdough, which means it has fermented for about 8 hours, making for a mild flavor-profile. The longer the fermentation the more sour you bread becomes.

Many are afraid to bake with sourdough, because they have to maintain and feed it. But here are my tips and tricks to maintain a sourdough. 

Feeding:

Feed the starter every 2-3 weeks or about 8 hours before you need it for baking. If you bake everyday you don’t have to feed the sourdough before using.

If you have a liquid on top of the sourdough, discard this. If you mix it in, your sourdough get way to sour. Discard about half the sourdough before feeding, so you feed about ½-1 cup sourdough. I do not measure this. I just discard about half and do the feeding directly in the storage container.

Rye sourdough:                    

  • ½-1 cup sourdough                   
  • ½ cup dark rye flour                    
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour               
  • 1 cup water          

 Wheat sourdough:

  •  ½-1 cup sourdough
  •  ½ cup whole wheat flour
  •  ½ cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 cup water

Directions:

Mix well, so all the flour is wet, let stand on the kitchen table for about 8 hour or overnight, fermenting. The sourdough will now be bubbling and smell kinda like beer. Now you can use the sourdough for baking, or store it in the refrigerator. 

When baking save about ½-1 cup of the fed sourdough for your next bake, this will be your new starter.

Keeping:

Keep the sourdough in the refrigerator in a closed container, double the size of the volume of the sourdough. The sourdough will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks with no feeding. With the long rest in the refrigerator you will have a dark liquid on top, discard this before feeding. (This will keep the sourdough from becoming to acidic.)

If you think your sourdough is gotten to sour to your taste. Just feed the sourdough 2-3 days in a row. This will freshen up the sourdough, and eliminate the harsh acidity you might have in the sourdough. 

Generally I only use "young" sourdough, meaning a newly fed sourdough in my baking.

Tempering Chocolate

Christmas, Desserts, Holiday, Sweets and Candy, techniqueTove Balle-Pedersen1 Comment

Dark chocolate:

Chop the chocolate finely, set just under ⅓ of the chocolate aside, and add the rest into a stainless steel bowl. Set the bowl on to a saucepan with very hot water. Let the chocolate melt while stirring. When the chocolate reaches 118-120℉ (48-49℃), take the bowl off the hot water. While stirring add the remaining chocolate in the warm chocolate. This will cool the chocolate. You need the temperature to cool to 80℉ (27℃). To make this process speed up, place the bowl in a bowl with ice-cold water for a short moment.   When the chocolate reaches 80℉ (27℃) put the bowl over the hot water again, and heat the chocolate to 88℉ (31℃), and now its ready to use for coating. It is Very important that the chocolate stays under 91.3℉ (33℃), if it does not, you need to start all over again.

TIP: If you keep an extra bowl with some warm chocolate, 118-120℉ (48-49℃), you can add small amounts of this, to the tempered chocolate if the temperature is getting to low while you are working with the chocolate.

Milk chocolate:  

You need to do the same steps with milk chocolate, as for the dark chocolate.

Heat to 116-118℉ (47-48℃)

Cool to  80℉ (27℃)

Reheat to 86℉ (30℃)

White chocolate:

You need to do the same steps with white chocolate, as for the dark chocolate. White chocolate is per definition not a real chocolate, 

Heat to 116-118℉ (47-48℃)

Cool to  80℉ (27℃)

Reheat to 84℉ (29℃)

How-to videos:

How to temper chocolate? Here is a video from CHOW, on how to do it. I also like this video, that gives you the science behind tempering chocolate. This warms a food chemists heart. ❤️

Hvordan temperer man chokolade? Her er en video fra Mette Blomsterberg, der viser hvordan hun gør. Blomsterberg køler ikke chokoladen til 27℃, for igen at opvarme chokoladen, til arbejdstemperaturen 31-33℃, som jeg ellers har lært. Men man må tro på at hun ved hvad hun gør. + jeg kan lide at hun har den lune chokolade klar, til at tilsætte lidt, for at holde temperaturen konstant, mens du arbejder med den.