Quick kefir sourdough bread

I have hit upon the idea of using the kefir fermented milk for making a sourdough starter. It works very well; it is also quicker and simpler to make than the special milk free kefir sourdough starter. Unlike some touchy starters this one is simple and reliable. All you need to have is a continuous supply of kefir, which is not at all difficult once of have got your own grains.

The starter

This starter is very simple to make, it is also smells very nice, just like kefir really. Moreover I have now come to the conclusion that any recipes calling for either a lump of the previous day's dough, or a sourdough starter, or a biga can easily be adapted to the this method.

Ingredients

Add enough kefir to your flour in order to make a nice kneading bread dough. Knead until the dough is elastic and smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave overnight in a warm place. I leave mine in the airing cupboard. Next day, when the dough is well risen and before it collapses, knock it down and go to the next step.

The dough

Yield

3 loaves

Ingredients

Oven at 220 C, 425 F, gas mark 7.

Move your starter to a large bowl and to it add the flours, salt, yeast, honey and oil. Slowly add enough water to obtain a good kneading dough. Knead vigorously until the dough is soft and elastic. Cover with plastic or damp cloth, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled. Knock down, divide in three equal portions, put them in well oiled tins. Cover again, this time with oiled cling film so that when you remove it doesn't stick to the dough and deflate it. When well risen, remove the cling film and bake in a very hot oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow. Cool on racks.

I must tell you that I have got into the habit of dividing the dough not in 3 parts as I mention above. I tease out a forth smaller one and with it I made a pizza. So it has become a habit to have pizza on the bread baking day or vice-versa. Whichever way I say it saves quite a bit of my time and the pizza is particularly popular! To do bake the lot in one go I start by baking the loaves first and then time the pizza so that everything is ready at the same time.

I am pretty sure that any of your favourite bread recipes can be adapted to this method. Just let me know of your successes as I would love to hear from you.

Maria Fremlin, 6 September 2012

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