Home baked bread is one of my weaknesses. Its not in the eating, but in the making of it. The waiting for the rise, or rather the 'dramatic wait' for the rising the dough and then the aroma of break baking in the oven. And then the aroma differs from whether you are baking a garlic and herb infused bread or a cinnamon roll or any other kind of bread, pizza or a naan. So while doing a lot of yeasted bread with success, partial success and no success.... I came across something called the Sourdough - what is it. Well I did a lot of research and came across many and I have now settled for a recipe of my own for the tropical weather of India, specifically Kochi in Kerala. Well yes, I have to be specific because the Sourdough goes through a long, slow process of rising and little bit variation in the temperature can upset the process and the result.
If you are still enthusiastic about the bread after seeing the picture and the write up above, okay, lets do it. This is my quick version of the recipe and rule of thumb is not to play around too much tweaking the recipe. Because the amount of water or rather the moisture in the dough is crucial.
For the starter
Mix 100gm wheat flour with 100 ml water and leave it for 12 to 24 hours. The mix should have doubled in size.
Once the starter is ready, add 400 gm wheat flour, 50 gm all purpose flour, 200 ml water, 1 table spoon sugar, 2 tablespoon oil and 3/4 tsp salt and give a mix with a spoon to make a wet dough. Leave it aside for about 1 hour. Now fold the dough about 10 to 20 times. If it is not soft and wet enough, you can sprinkle few drops of water. Repeat this one or two more times. Leave it to rise for about 7-8 hours or overnight. Make sure it does not over prove.
Once it has doubled in size. Sprinkle some flour and give a gentle fold. The dough should be smooth but not wet now. Shape it into a smooth ball and leave it to rise once again. It would take about 2 to 4 hours. A sourdough bread is baked in a deep pan with a lid because the dough will further rise while baking. It commercial terms it is called baking in a Dutch Oven. Before baking the bread you have to score it with a blade or anything thin and sharp to cut through at least 1 cm deep. Preheat oven to 220C or 200 C in a convection and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. You can make stencil with flour as you see in the picture. Just put some flour through a paper stencil and it will stay there. I cut out these leaves and asked my daughter to fill it with flour. Thats it.