Monday, November 16, 2009

Danish Sourdough & Thyme Bread

There is something about baking sourdough bread. The whole process takes planning, counting of hours, patient and curiosity. The curiosity comes from questions about what really happens in that bowl when you leave it for hours and hours to rest and produce that sour taste that gives sourdough bread it's special character. I have not baked a sourdough bread in years and since me an my husband love to indulge in freshly baked bread for the weekend breakfasts and because I think that there is nothing compared to home cooked, and my husband do agree, I simply have to make it myself. This is my third week baking a bread and I keep my hopes up that this bread, compare to last weeks gluten free bread, will put a smile on my husbands face and put me in the light of being the excellent cook I so want to be. The recipe is inspired from one of my absolute favorite Swedish cookbooks. I have had the book for years and the only recipes I have been trying are from the bread section for some reason. I think it has something to do with the fact that my mother always baked bread at home and that the fantastic smell brings happy childhood memories and warming comfort.

The sourdough needs to rest for 24hours so make sure that you have enough time and patient before you start. Before I scare you off, keep in mind that you do not need to do anything with the dough for many hours. The original recipe suggests fresh yeast but since I couldn't get fresh yeast from my local food store in the area where I live in London I had to use fast action dry yeast instead. If you are using fresh yeast you need 12g. Keep the salt level to 2 tsp if you have a delicate pallet, high blood pressure or are on a low sodium diet. The original recipe suggests 1 tbsp but that was too salty for me. I used herb salt since it is not as salty and more nutritious then conventional salt.

Danish Sourdough & Thyme Bread
for the sourdough you need:
7g of fast action dry yeast
5dl/500ml warm water
2dl/200ml natural yoghurt
1 liter/1000ml whole wheat flour

Combine yeast and water in a bowl until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together by hand with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest for 24hours.

24hours later the sourdough is mature and ready for the next step where you add:
3-4dl whole wheat flour
1tbsp dried thyme
1 heaped tbsp cumin

Pour the dough in to ovenproof loaf tin and garnish with dried thyme and sunflower seeds or any other seed you have at home. Leave to rest for 1hour. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F and bake the bread for about 45minutes. Every oven is different so please keep an eye on the bread. You know your oven best.

The bread keeps for days and is delicious toasted with real butter. The original recipe suggests that the bread should rest for 1-2 days. If you want to wait that long, be my guest. I didn't!

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