Sourdough bread at the Cheeseboard Collective Sourdough bread at the Cheeseboard Collective Sourdough is the basis for all the wonderful breads and pizzas produced by the famous Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley (just across the Bay from San Francisco in California).  Creating a sourdough starter then feeding it every 12-14 hours and cooking with it regularly may be beyond some home-cooks but the sourdough principles can still transform your usual bread making.  Also, for the inspired and dedicated bread maker, the Cheeseboard Collective book has everything you need to know about making a sourdough starter from scratch and then turning it in to fabulous pizzas and breads. Here, I’m offering you an insight in to the “industrial-sized” approach to bread making  that I videoed with the Collective and requires a machine like a cement mixer, chains and a hoist to lift the bowl and a whole proving room in which to rise the dough overnight.  The ingredients are percentages of the amount of flour used.  Here goes: Watch me make it on YouTube Download an accessible word version here Ingredients 120lb/55kg of artisan baker 100% organic wheat flour (strong white bread flour). About 82lbs/37kg water (68%) About 42lbs/19kg sourdough starter (35%) About 19ounces/35g of non-iodised salt (1%) (Americans call this kosher salt) Method: 1. Your goal is to create smooth and shiny dough with a temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24C).  So you need to take account of: The ambient room temperature - this will affect the temperature of the flour, starter and the mixer (whether a machine or hand-draulic); The water temperature – in California where the temperature was over 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27C), their normal coolest water for the dough was 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7C); The mixing time and speed - the friction of the mixture with the bowl and dough hook creates heat.  At the cheeseboard collective, they alternated between slow and high speeds. 2. Start by mixing the flour, water and starter together slowly and then increase the speed for a few minutes. 3. Add the salt and mix again, first slowly and then fast. 4. Check the temperature with your trusty cooking thermometer. 5. When the dough is smooth and shiny, oil one or more containers that have enough space to allow the dough to double in size. 6. Put dough in to each container and roll to cover with a thin layer of oil. 7. Cover and place in your proving room which has a constant temperature of 60 degrees F (15C) to rise overnight and develop the best sourdough flavour.  If you don’t run to such a room, the rise can take place in the kitchen or other warm place for about 4 hours but will be quicker and less flavourful.  You could also leave the covered dough in the fridge overnight but allow it to return to ambient room temperature and rise  for a couple of hours before the next step. 8. Then you can move on to shaping the breads for baking and various toppings – we will cover this next time. My Tips: Tips….
Baking Blind You don’t have to be blind to cook but it helps!