Sourdough – An economic analysis and recipe

Sourdough Recipe

Sourdough is a staple around our house these days. It may seem like a big deal, but it really is a bunch of small efforts over a day or so. The pay off is worth it – financially and gastronomically!

We scan through the supermarket chain catalogues when they arrive. It used to be because we were after specials, but we go to the supermarket so rarely these days we scan them for research purposes and to be outraged with the price of produce. 1kg of flour for 75c! A loaf of bread for $2! 1kg of flour takes about 4 square metres to grow. I grow stuff in my backyard, and if someone offered my 75c for what I can grow in 4m2, I’d probably punch them in the face. Which is what farmers would probably like to do if their arms weren’t so tired from slaving away to produce grain for 75c/kg.

So, organic sourdough. We buy our premium organic bakers flour for about $3/kg (we get the 12.5kg bags). We use 500g per loaf. If you’re doing the maths, that is about $1.50 a loaf! Take that supermarkets! But what about all the other ingredients you may say? You mean salt and water and the ambient bacteria from a Grade 11 biology class that formed the starter culture (true story… another time…). Mostly free, lets say about 40c for salt and water, and I’m still winning with the sourdough.

Good food isn’t expensive, but we pay for good food with the time it takes to prepare. And food you prepare (just like food you grow) always tastes better. Here’s the recipe I’m currently using:

Ingredients

500g Bakers flour

350g Water

2tsp salt

120g sourdough starter culture (Combo of a little bit of starter + 2/3 flour + 1/3 water + time to activate)

 

Method

  • Mix together flour and water (thermomix = 5secs on 5), let it sit for 20mins (allows the gluten to develop and gives the bread a satisfying chewiness)
  • Add starter and salt
  • Reserve about 30g of starter and put in fridge for next time
  • Knead for 5 mins (we have a Thermomix, but I’m sure hands work too 😉 )
  • In the last 30 secs add some seeds (pepita, linseed, sesame etc) if you want
  • Let it double in size somewhere warm (can take 12 hours in winter, and 4 hours in summer. It’s an inexact science, but you get the hang of it)
  • Shape it into a tin, or free form, turn the oven on, and let it proof for an hour.
  • Bake for 20mins on 220deg, then 20mins on 180deg

That’s it!! Except for take it out of the oven. That is a must.

How to make a sourdough starter culture can be another time… but you can get some organic flour here in preparation…

Phil