When it comes to the world of sourdough bread the variations are endless. Different kneading techniques, rising times, flours, water amounts… can lead to varying results. I have been studying Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s sourdough technique in How to Make Bread which has been most interesting. I have made the ‘Levain de Campagne’ (p. 95), fig, walnut and anise (p.116) and beetroot (p.109) sourdough breads with varying degrees of success. There are corrections to the first two recipes on his Facebook page which I’ve included below. I think following these corrections would result in better bread.
page 94: Levain de campagne Bread: replace “150 g warm water” by “250 g to 300 g warm water” (the author cannot be more specific as a lot depends on the capacity of your wholegrain flours to absorb water. Generally speaking American flours are stronger (have a higher protein content) than their British equivalent and therefore require more water.
page 109: Beetroot Sourdough: In step 3, add the oil to the wet mixture.
Hadjiandreou has a different kneading technique than my own. I knead my dough for 15-20 minutes by hand or machine until it passes the window pane test. Hadjiandreou kneads his bread for 10 seconds and then lets it rest for 10 minutes and repeats this process four times, watch this video to see him knead bread.
His kneading technique is only one of the many differences between the way he makes his sourdough and the way I make mine. I have included his recipe for beetroot sourdough bread below with some minor alterations. Out of the three breads I made from his book the beetroot sourdough was my favourite. It had an earthy flavour and a tender crumb. Because of the higher water content in this bread it didn’t hold it’s shape well coming out of the proofing baskets so I baked it in an oval pan.
Recipe from How to Make Bread with some slight alterations.
Makes one large loaf
370g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
8g (1 1/2 tsp.) salt
160g (2 small or 1 large) beets, scrubbed and grated
220g (1 scant cup) sourdough starter
200g (3/4 cup) water, warm
15g (1 Tbsp.) olive oil
1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix sourdough starter, oil and water in a bowl.
3. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and combine.
4. Add grated beets and combine.
5. Cover and let dough rest for 10 minutes.
6. Following Hadjiandreou kneading technique (watch video) knead dough for 10 seconds and the lest rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this process a total of four times. You will knead the dough for a total of 40 seconds over a period of 30 minutes.
7. Cover the bowl and let rest for 1 hour in a warm place.
8. Line a proofing basket with a lint free cloth and plenty of flour and place dough into the basket.
9. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until double in size. This can take anywhere for two to six hours.
10. When the dough has doubled preheat over to 475F and place a roasting pan at the bottom with a cup of water to create steam in the oven.
11. Tip the dough onto a baking sheet or into a bread pan and place in oven.
12. Add more water to the baking sheet for more steam and lower the oven temperature to 425F.
13. Bake bread for 30 minutes or until the bread has browned at it sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.