I have been wanting to expand my sourdough baking and try different recipes so I finally bought myself a copy of The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard
What a great book and it really makes you want to try new recipes and types of bread from all around the world. One question I do have is how do I convert these recipes to using a sourdough starter? He talks about when you replace the fresh yeast in the recipe with dry active yeast but what proportions do I use to replace fresh yeast with my starter?
Fruit Loaf Experiment
I did try adapting Dan's walnut bread recipe and I just used my normal bread mix with 40% starter and 75% hydration. I decided to make it a fruit and nut loaf so I chose some nice Australian Pecans instead of walnuts and some mini dried figs which had fantastic texture and intense flavour.
I soaked the figs in water for 12 hours and used 50g of the pecans to make a paste (50g pecans, 50g water, 2 tbsp honey, 20g melted butter lightly browned, pinch sea salt and I added pinch of cinnamon sugar). The paste is added to the dough for extra layers of flavour. The dough was difficult to work as it got very slack and progressively runny when I was trying to fold it. I think it may have been the extra sugars and extra water in the mix from the rich nut paste. I folded the fruit and nuts in just before trying to form the bread and left it overnight in the fridge for baking in the morning.
I must say this bread turned out better than I expected and the combination of figs and pecans gave the loaf a very nice aromatic flavour. It was delicious with just a little butter on it's own and I'm sure it will be great toasted...yum!
The crumb was not bad with some irregular holes, although I probably could have baked it longer as I think the water in the fruit meant that it needed longer in the oven. However the bread is nice and moist even if there are some doughy bits on the bottom.
Anyway I am pretty happy with my first fruit loaf but I really would like to know what the general rule of thumb is for converting bread recipes from fresh or dried yeast to using a sourdough starter.
I have just found another great book -The Italian Baker by Carol Field which has lots of authentic traditional recipes but does not say how to convert them to using no commercial yeast at all.
Thanks in advance for any advice and tips for us newbies :-) Johnny
BTW -thanks for fixing the text editor makes blogging much easier - is that your doing Maedi?