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Try your hand at this delicious recipe as seen in Episode 1 of River Cottage Australia. To get the recipe for the Sourdough Starter click here.
Mix the flour, water and starter together in a bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until it is slightly aerated and spongy looking. As a guide, this will take about 8 hours, so it’s a good idea to put it on just before you go to bed.
When you’re ready to make your dough, knead it by hand and mix in the flour and the sponge. Bring it together and knead until the dough becomes satiny. Shape into a round, cover and leave somewhere until doubled in size.
The next stage requires you to flour a board, press the dough out flat and shape into a round again and leave again, until it is doubled in size. Repeat the process and repeat again. You will feel the dough changing with each repetition. The dough will become smooth and airy.
Deflate the dough and divide into two. Shape into loaves (or make one large one). Coat with rye flour and leave to prove in tea towels or proving baskets.
Cover and leave until doubled in size.
When the loaves are almost ready, switch the oven on to full (approx. 250C) with a baking tray in the oven and an empty tray on the bottom shelf.
Boil the kettle and have a serrated knife, some water and tea towel ready.
When you are ready to bake the loaves, transfer them to the hot baking tray, slash the tops (deeply!) with a serrated knife and sprinkle water (lightly!) over the bread). Put the tray back in the oven and as quick as you can, pour boiling water on the empty tray on the bottom shelf.
After 10 minutes, check the bread and turn it down to 200C if the crust is pale or 180C if it is noticeably browning.
The loaf or loaves should be ready after about 40 mins, but after checking them, bake for a little longer if you are in doubt because its better to be over baked and crusty than under baked and inedible.
Leave to cool before cutting.
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