Friday, October 20, 2006

Good God, I forgot the recipe!

Leaven Recipe
The Handmade Loaf
by Dan Lepard

Day 1
150 g water at 20 C
2 rounded tsp rye flour
2 rounded tsp strong white flour
2 rounded tsp currants or raisins
2 rounded tsp live low fat yogurt

Mix all the ingredients in a 500ml Kilner jar. Cover and leave at room temperature (approx. 20C) for 24 hours.

Day 2
50g water at 20C
2 rounded tsp rye flour
2 rounded tsp strong white flour

By this stage there will be no perceptible change, though some yeasts will have multiplied. The surface will look shiny as the solids separate from the water and sink down in the jar. Stir the above ingredients into the leaven, starting with the water, followed by the dry ingredients. Cover and leave again at room temperature (approx. 20C) for 24 hours.

Day 3
100g water at 20C
4 rounded tsp strong white flour
4 rounded tsp rye flour

By this time the raisins (or currents) will have started to break down and you will notice a coffee coloured ring around them as they sit in the mixture. Also, there will be the odd pin hole of fermentation on the surface. Add the water, stir well to combine, then add the flours and stir again. The mixture will look frothy, but this is simply from the stirring. Nearly there. Cover and leave again at room temperature (approx. 20C)

Day 4
100g water at 20C
125 strong white flour

By this time the froth of fermentation should be beginning, though there will be only the vaguest hint of acidity in the aroma. Remove and discard three-quarters of the mixture. Add the water and stir well. Pour the mixture through a tea strainer to remove the raisins (or currents), then put the strained liquid back into the Kilner jar. Add the flour and stir again. Cover and leave at room temperature (approx 20C) for 24 hours.

Day 5
100g water at 20C
125 strong white flour

The fermentation should be clearly evident, and the aroma starting to become acid. You can notice this the moment you remove the lid from the jar, though it disappears quickly. Remove and discard three-quarters of the mixture. Add the water and stir well so that the mixture thins evenly. Stir in the flour so that you have a thick paste. I prefer to keep the refreshment slightly heavier on flour than water, as this slows the fementation and stops the leaven rising and falling too quickly. Cover and leave again at room temperature (approx. 20C) for 24 hours.

Day 6 Onwards
Take the lid off the jar, and you will see the mixture bubbling. Each day, as you remove some leaven for baking, replacing it with the equivalent amount of flour and water, the aroma of the leaven will become stronger and more sharply acidic.


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