Recipe - Heritage Sourdough Bread

Trenchmore Heritage Wholemeal Sourdough (No Knead)

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550 gms stoneground wholemeal flour
450ml warm water (filtered/chlorine free)
100gms starter (roughly - I use all mine and take out some dough to start again - explained below)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp honey or sugar
Optional 1 tbs oil - rape seed oil / butter / olive oil
Optional 50gms nut/ oats/ seeds - wheat grains / linseed / sunflower (or a mix of whatever you like)
Loaf tin internal measurement 23cm x 13cm or a 20cm round cake tin. This is quite a wet dough, which doesn’t need any kneading and rises better in a tin

Fermenting time 20-24 hours.
Baking time 1 hour 220oC fan preheated oven.

Evening (or could be reversed to morning)
First mix flour, water and starter in a large mixing bowl, remove about 100gms as your next starter (add a tablespoon of water if too thick - aiming for a thick batter) and pop it back in a container and store in the fridge (starters should easily survive a week or three in the fridge and have been known to revive after months). If you have a starter that is working well you could store a portion in the freezer as a back up. 

Thoroughly mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Add a little more water or flour if required - you are aiming for a smooth dough that is easy to stir.

Cover with cling film, leave in a warmish area overnight. If plans go awry and you need to slow down the bread you can put it in the fridge at any point for a day or two or freeze it. Allow to come to room temp before resuming the recipe or cooking.

Mix gently the now risen dough - knocking it back to remove the gas. Then place in an oiled or very non-stick loaf tin or cake tin. Recover with oiled cling film and leave to double/ triple in size in a warm place. Yeasts are funny things - the ones in your house will be different from ours and your starter will adapt over time. The dough should almost fill the tin. If it ever fails for any reason you could add some fast acting yeast,  pop back in the tin to rise or make crackers / pizza dough.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200oC for 50 minutes. Turn out and return on a tray to cook for another 10 minutes to crisp up the bottom. Tap the bottom if you get a hollow sound it is cooked. If you aren't sure cook for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool on a tray for at least 20 minutes before slicing thinly. Sourdough loaves last well and freeze brilliantly. More on the art and science of sourdough from the wonderful Vanessa Kimbell here

Once baked store for the first couple of days under a tea towel as the loaf continues to dry out. After that it can be stored in a bread bin and should last a week (not tested - ours disappears before that!).

Trenchmore Heritage Flour

Is grown using heirloom seed that would have been seen all over the country before WWII. It is a mixed (landrace) seed with many different varieties and a great flavour. Many believe that these older varieties, being lighter in protein,  are easier to digest and more nutrient dense. Our mix will change over the years as some varieties do better on our soils and climate to reflect our terroir. And as we find other great tasting varieties we'll be adding these - farming for flavour! If you have a bread machine we'd suggest starting with a 50:50 mix of heritage and a modern wheat initially to get a good bake and tweaking from there.

Why wholemeal sourdough?
Wholemeal - because it contains all the fibre (we need around 30gms a day but on average only eat 16gms) and because it contains all the wheat germ which has essential nutrients including Vitamin E, folate (commercially made known as folic acid), phosphorus, thiamin, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids. 

Sourdough - the slow fermentation, using wild yeasts to ferment flour with water, slowly breaks down the wheat so you can enjoy a loaf that is more digestible than standard loaves and more nutritious too. Lactic acids, produced as the bacteria break down the sugars give sourdough it's tang and make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more bio-available to the body by helping neutralise the phytates in flour that would interfere with their absorption. The acids slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood-stream, reducing the carbohydrate available and lowering the bread's glycemic index (GI), so it doesn't cause undesirable spikes in insulin. As the acidity increases the microorganisms drop out and the wild yeasts take over converting the sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol. The long process - although you only actually do anything for about 5 minutes - also breaks down the gluten making it more digestible and less likely to cause food intolerance. This means that a slice of sourdough (and possibly just call it bread with children!) is more satisfying and filling. A shorter second ferment would give a milder flavour.