Olive & Thyme Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread – Something which I grew up on my whole childhood! We never bought bread – or very rarely! And even mum’s homemade ‘yeast’ bread was a treat in our household! So this divine loaf of bread is still from the same sourdough culture that my mum had as a kid! It’s actually over 120 years old! Not kidding! This is one seriously old culture! And the bread that results is proof that it really is amazing! You keep feeding the culture, perhaps once a week and it just keeps on living! Amazing stuff!

Olive & Thyme Bread 11What I will say is that this is my version of mum’s sourdough! I’ve revamped it! Mum’s sourdough often came out quite dense, and largely because she made it with mostly rye flour, however I do quite a different rise process, and I believe it makes a big difference!

Obviously I have a pre-existing culture. Some of you may be lucky to have a culture too. If you don’t, there are recipes out there to start your own, or you can sometimes find it in specialty cooking shops or health food stores.

This is the REAL deal sourdough! I mean, most of the sourdough that you buy in the supermarket has yeast added! Well I’m here to tell you that this has none, zilch, zero, zip! Just naturally occurring yeast from the culture! Often those sensitive to regular yeast breads can handle sourdough.

The bacteria in sourdough (Lactobacillus), along with the natural yeast from the fermentation, work hand in hand to predigest the grains. This helps to make the bread much more easily digestible. I love the fact that this is another way I can get good bacteria into my family!

Because the production of sourdough is lengthy, the proteins in the gluten are broken down far more than a typical loaf of bread, also aiding in digestion. We eat a diet low in wheat & gluten, however this sourdough as a treat suits us much better, as it’s much more gentle on the gut. And despite the hours involved in waiting for this bread to do it’s thing, each step is actually super easy and quick!

Sourdough has an amazing way of preserving itself. The Acetic acid prevents molds from growing, so there’s no need to worry about it spoiling in the fermenting process.

Sourdough is also an incredible powerhouse of naturally occurring vitamins. With excess of 15 vitamins, it really is so much better than what you will find on any supermarket shelf.
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You can see above how I’ve folded the dough a couple of times. This will help the dough to hold its shape.
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And above I’ve pinched the dough. This will become the underside of the loaf and the smooth finish that you cant see here, will become the top.
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Ready to prove in the banneton.
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Slashed and ready to bake!
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The gorgeous finished product!
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And I had to show you one last photo of the beautiful soft crumb. When first baked, it’s amazing just drizzled with olive oil! After a day or so it will begin to firm and the texture will become more dense but it’s then wonderful toasted with eggs. Enjoy! xx

Olive & Thyme Sourdough Bread
This delicious bread is the perfect crusty bread to go with a warming winter soup or topped with beautifully poached eggs and hollandaise sauce....or perhaps just simply avocado, lemon, salt & cayenne pepper! Yummo!!
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Ingredients
  1. 400g Organic Unbleached Bakers Flour
  2. 150g Organic Unbleached White Spelt Flour
  3. 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  4. 80g Sourdough Culture
  5. 350ml Water
  6. 50g Kalamata Olives, pitted & sliced in half
  7. 6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
Instructions
  1. Place the flours, salt, culture and water into the Thermomix and mix 5-10 Sec/Speed 6. Add the thyme and knead 2 minutes (adding the olives with 20 Sec knead time remaining.)
  2. Place into a large bowl and cover with cling wrap or a beeswax food wrap and set aside for 8-10 hours to ferment.
  3. Once proved, using a pastry scraper push and fold the dough down in the bowl a few times. (The dough will be quite sticky at the beginning of this step, but after folding a few times you will start to see it hold its shape). On a very lightly floured surface, bring the dough together so it is just workable. Be careful not to incorporate too much extra flour as it will end up too tight a loaf!
  4. Fold the dough over and pinch the edges together, forming into a nice rectangular loaf shape. Flour a rectangular banneton sufficiently and place the nice top side of the loaf down in the basket, with the pinched base showing. (Don't worry, when we turn the loaf out to bake, the good side will be back on top!)
  5. Leave to prove for another 2 hours in the banneton. I sometimes cover loosely with a plastic bag so the bread doesn't dry out.
  6. Insert a pizza stone into the oven 30 minutes prior to baking, and a small tray on the bottom shelf and preheat the oven to 250°C.
  7. Boil the kettle. Once the oven is hot, quickly turn out the prepared loaf onto the pizza stone that's been lightly dusted with flour or semolina. Slash the loaf with a very sharp knife in 3 places if you please.
  8. Place the bread into the oven and quickly pour about 150mls of boiled water onto the tray below and shut the oven immediately. This will create steam in your oven to help create a nice crispy, dark crust.
  9. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. The bottom of the loaves should sound hollow when cooked. Serve warm with loads of butter and a delicious soup!
Notes
  1. You can omit the olives and thyme and replace with some dried fruit and nuts, like walnuts and figs or you can just leave out completely for a plain loaf.
  2. If you don't have a banneton you can just prove in a regular bread tin and you will get a wonderful loaf in that too!
Kitch'n Thyme http://kitchnthyme.com.au/