Sourdough - the Scrapings Method.

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Making Sourdough using the 'Scrapings Method"
In 1576, Richard Edwardes, a playwright, lyricist, and, supposedly, an illegitimate son of Henry VIII, published The Paradise of Dainty Devices.
It was here we have the first recorded version of For want is nexte to waste and shame doeth synne ensue".
Or, as we know it today - Waste not, want not.
And that, bakers, is the essence of today's lesson!
The Scrapings Method
First of all, this is not a new method. There are plenty of bakers who use this technique....this is just my explanation and the way I work this in my own kitchen.
If you're a baker who likes a weekly / daily loaf but doesn't like having a large pot of starter in the fridge and tipping too much on the compost heap or into the food bin, then this might well be what you're looking for.
A quick word here.....never tip your starter down the can easily block your drain.
OK...let's unpick how this works,
Imagine we're going to bake (a) sourdough loaf/loaves tomorrow. (Obviously, it doesn't need to be tomorrow - it can be any day) We've worked out our formula and know that we need a certain total volume of starter to accommodate our single or multiple bakes.
Bake: I'm baking two loaves. Each has 500 gms of flour (total 1000 gms). We're adding 15% starter (remember, that quantity is up to might be 10% or 20$ or 5% or 12%). 15% of 1000 = 150 gms.
Now, we think of that as 75gms flour and 75gms water. (1:1) in our refrigerator, we have a jar. In the bottom of that jar are a few 'scrapings' left over from the last bake. The jar has been in the fridge for a day / a few days / a week - it really doesn't matter.
How much is 'a few scrapings', I hear you ask? Well, about 20 - 30 gms. It really isn't all that much.
The key to this is that the starter, if possible, should be a rye flour starter.
Because rye flour is the nightclub bouncer of flour. It's the bully boy of the home baking shelf. It's tough, robust, and anti-social enough to cope with being left out in the cold for a few days in between gainful employment, setting about some wimpy salt, water, and flour and turning them into a dough.
You really don't need to weigh your scrapings....scrapings are scrapings...they're more than just a 'smear' but less than a 'good dollop'. Just judge by eye.
Tonight - or the evening before baking....
Take the jar and the scrapings out of the fridge and add the total flour/water you need for the bake plus just a teeny-weeny bit we always seem to lose a little bit to the atmosphere... maybe a gram or two at the most.
Give it a stir, mark the level and leave it on the worktop overnight to double in volume. Because you're using so little starter or ferment, it'll take a bit longer for the mixture to double.
Then, use the starter in your bake and you'll be left with.....a few scrapings.
Afterwards, don't wash the jar out. Simply pop the lid on the jar, pop it back into the fridge and it'll go to sleep until you need it again.
And that's it.

Now let's see it in practice. 
This is a formula for FOUR smaller sourdough loaves. If you're baking one, two, or fifty, remember, it's the formula you need. You scale up or down using Bakers' Percentages
It's all about Bakers' Percentages.
Not sure about Bakers' Percentages? Click here for a quick lesson

1000 gms strong white flour (75%)
500 gms wholemeal flour (25%)
30 gms crushed sea salt (2%)
1050 gms filtered tepid water (70%)
180 gms of active starter (12%) 

I'm making small sourdough today. 

I'm dividing my dough between four bannetons: two oval (batard) size 13x6x23 (cms) and two round bannetons size 20 x 8 (cms). By baking four loaves at the same time, I maximise the space available in my oven.
If I was baking one loaf - I'd start with a 500 gms mix of flour. 
I find this chart useful:

Remember - the temperature is key. My kitchen is 20⁰C. Therefore, I know my dough will be 22⁰C. Try to create an environment where your dough is somewhere between 20⁰C and 28⁰C. 

Watch the dough - not the clock! Get used to how the dough behaves and what it is telling you. 

1. Mix the flours with the water and combine thoroughly. Cover and leave for one hour to autolyse. 

2. Add the salt. Dimple in using wet hands and combine thoroughly. Re-cover and leave for 30  minutes. 

3. Add the starter. Combine and ensure it's fully integrated. Re-cover and leave for 45 minutes. 

4. Stretch and fold the dough. Re-cover and leave for 45 minutes. 

5. Repeat Stage 4. 

6. Repeat Stage 4.

7. Tip the dough out onto a wet board. Stretch the dough out into a large rectangle. Pull the left side over ⅔ of the way and then bring the right-hand side over to form a letter. Bring the bottom side up ⅔ towards the top and then bring the top over to form a neat parcel. 

8. Place the dough in an oiled proofing vessel and allow to bulk ferment until it has increased by 70% of the original volume. 

Note - if you working in a hot, humid environment, I'd let it increase to 50% and then move on to the next stage. If your kitchen is very cool or even cold, let it increase to 80% before moving on.

9. Gently the dough out onto a rice-floured board. Divide to suit the size of your prepared bannetons. 

10. Rest for ten minutes (less in a warm environment) and then shape to create tension and transfer the dough to the banneton. Cover and place in a cold place (between 2⁰C and 4⁰) for 12 - 16 hours. 

11. Remove from the refrigerator. Preheat your oven to 240⁰C and preheat your baking vessel. 

12. Gently transfer the loaf from the banneton to the baking vessel, score, and cover. Bake for 30 minutes at 240⁰C with the lid in place. Then remove the lid, turn the temperature down to 230⁰C, and continue to bake for 15 minutes. 

13. Cool on a rack for at least a couple of hours.

Happy baking.....


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