Neil Robinson

On the trail of great bread!

Sourdough Bread on the Road

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I was recently in Greece visiting my in-laws and I brought a small amount of my starter with me so that I could bake while I was there and so that my mother-in-law could also bake great bread after we left.

Upon arrival the first night I refreshed the sourdough culture I had brought with me (a small amount, around 30g in a 100ml disposable plastic bottle for carry-on baggage). The whole wheat flour she first showed me there was considerably darker and not stone ground.

The sourdough rose well though and the following day we created my standard recipe but instead of using 200g or 150g of this darker whole wheat flour, I chose to use 100g. That turned out to be a good decision. I did the usual turns in the first hour or so, and then left it to rise until 6 hours had passed. I turned it out, and then formed it into a single loaf and proofed it in a glass oven dish that had an oval shape that was not broader than the black roasting tin that I was going to bake in.

When baking time came, her electric oven came up very fast to temperature and it gets hotter than mine. We baked the bread at 250° C for 20 minutes with the lid on, and then removed the lid (the larger lower part of the roasting pan in this case), lowered the temperature to 235° C and baked it for another 25 minutes. The result was amazing!

Large oval loaf baked on the road in Greece (side view)

Large oval loaf baked on the road in Greece (side view)

Large oval loaf baked on the road in Greece (top view)

Large oval loaf baked on the road in Greece (top view)

Lowering the temperature was essential however, because a subsequent loaf where we forgot to lower the temperature (and where she had the fan on, I turned it off on the first one), meant she had to pull it out after only around 10 minutes. It was a bit charred on top but still tasted good.

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