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Honey Powered Sourdough Recipe

Sourdough is bread that uses wild, local yeasts as the raising agents. A portion of the dough is kept back when each loaf is baked and is used to raise the next one.  A lovely self-contained and sustainable process – but how do you collect those wild local yeasts in the first place?

Look no further than local honey!

honey-sourdough-loaf
Honey Powered Sourdough Loaf

As long as the honey is unpasteurised – or better still raw –  it will contain a dormant population of wild yeasts from your area. The bees are well aware of them. This is why they reduce the water content of honey to below 20%  –  so that the army of wild yeasts present in the honey are unable to metabolise it. But they haven’t gone away you know – they are just dormant – waiting for the chance to burst into life.

Temperature

Before you trigger them into action – a word of warning – yeasts are very temperature sensitive:

  • If you apply heat much above 30 degrees you may kill them;
  • Honey from the supermarket will have been deliberately heated to temperatures designed to kill. Any yeasts that were there will be dead.

Here’s how to make a sourdough starter from honey.

Starter Recipe

This recipe is from Richard Bertinet’s excellent book ‘Crust’.

Materials

  • 20g local honey – preferably raw;
  • 50g spelt flour;
  • 150g strong white flour – preferably organic;
  • 150g luke warm water – hot water will kill your yeasts so be careful.

Method

  • Mix everything together till you have a soft dough;
  • Put the bowl inside a plastic bag and put it into your warming cabinet for 36-48 hours at 30 degrees;
  • Leave it alone – poking or stirring doesn’t help;
  • After the allotted time you should find your dough is alive and bubbly;
  • You are now ready to feed your creature;
  • Add to it 30g spelt flour, 280g strong white flour and 150g luke warm water and mix well;
  • Leave for another 24 hours at 24 degrees;
  • Take 200g of your starter and add it to 400g strong white flour and 200g water;
  • Leave for 12 hours at 24 degrees;
  • Now put it in the fridge for 2 days – this will slow it down;
  • After 2 days you are ready to bake!

Sourdough Recipe

Materials

  • 200g of your starter;
  • 45g spelt flour;
  • 350g strong white flour;
  • 325g water;
  • 10g salt.

Method

    • Mix everything together till you get a sloppy dough;
    • Unless you are used to working with very wet doughs watch Richard Bertinet’s method here:

  • Put the dough into a floured bowl for 1 hour;
  • Fold the dough and put it back into the floured bowl for another hour;
  • Repeat that step;
  • Form the dough into a ball and set it into a well floured proving basket or ‘banneton’ for about 16 hours;
  • Turn out onto a hot baking sheet, slash and bake for 30 minutes at 220 degrees or equivalent;
  • You may have noticed that this seems to be a pretty wasteful process but it need not be – bake any surplus starter for your dog.

This bread makes the best toast in the world – sublime smothered in honey of course.

Click here for Richard Bertinet’s website

Click here for more beespoke honey recipes

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