Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"QUEEQUEG" was a native Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.

Finally, here it is! My gluten free sourdough!

"QUEEQUEG" gluten free sourdough!

It's called "QUEEQUEG"!
As the chief harpooner aboard the Pequod in the novel MOBY-DICK by Herman Melville.
Proceeding in the tradition started giving the name of "ISHMAEL" (the name of another character of the same novel) at my sourdough. 
I must say to all whom read this post, that baking and whales,  are the two of my favourite hobbies. So I decided to give to my sourdoughs these names connecting my baking activity to my preferred book about whales.
Moreover, my two sourdoughs usually lie side by side, as the two characters at the beginning of the novel.

But let's leave the reasons why I chose this name, I rather wanted to think to the reasons I created a gluten-free sourdough.

First of all it was a challenge between me and all those told me I couldn't be able to make a bread with only naturally gluten free flours and gluten free sourdough.
To be clear, with the definition "naturally gluten free flours" I mean all the flours obtained by gluten free cereals as, for example: buckwheat, sorghum, corn, rice, teff and many others.
Another reason is connected with all the request I have received through my blog, from readers which wanted to know if I ever tried to make bread without gluten with sourdough.

So, the first step was make a gluten free sourdough, and the following is the procedure that I followed to realize it.


1) first dough
Buckwheat flour (stone ground) g 40 (1.42 oz)
Water 25/30 g (0.88/1.06 oz)
Extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon  
Honey 1/2 teaspoon 

(Before passing to the instructions for preparing the gluten free sourdough, I would like to make a few clarifications.
First of all the first mixture and for the next refreshments, will be crucial in order to facilitate the absorption of water, use finely ground flour. I specifically used a mixture of 75% of buckwheat
stone ground flour and 25% whole wheat flour of Teff. In the recipe I mention only the buckwheat to simplify things. However, this sourdough can also be prepared with other gluten-free flours such as rice or corn. In addition, for hydration, I put 25/30 g of water because, especially in the first stage, the dough should be neither too dry nor too liquid. So hydration should be considered according to the flour that you use).

Melt honey in the water, then add the flour gradually, try to get a fairly homogeneous mixture without stirring a lot. 
Also add the half teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and stir briefly, just to incorporate it. 
Put in a clean glass jar and cover with a gauze pad, or with plastic wrap taking care to make some holes, so that air may pass but not pass dust or miscellaneous impurities that contaminate the mixture.  
Let stand in a dark place, away from drafts (the ideal temperature of + 26/28 ° C[+78/82 °F]) for a period that can vary from 24 to 48 hours, and in any case until the doubling of the volume. Make sure that the mixture does not dry out or mold does not form, if form mold, throw everything and start over again. 

Buckwheat flour (stone ground) g 28 (0.99 oz)
Water g 24 (0.85 oz)
Gluten free sourdough  g 28 (0.99 oz)

Take 28 g of the central part of the yeast previously obtained, dissolve in the water and add the flour. Gotten this new dough, put it back into the jar (cleaned and d dried), covering with gauze or perforated plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume. 
Repeat this process until the yeast doubled in about 2/3 hours. At this point you can begin to refresh once a day, taking care once doubled the volume to tightly close the jar and store it in the refrigerator until the next refresh.
Proceed with daily refreshments for about a week, then begin to refresh every 2/3 days. Probably at this stage you will be able to start using the surplus to make some tests.  
Gradually increase the interval between the refreshments, until you come to refresh once a week. After that the sourdough should have gained enough vitality to be used regularly.


"QUEEQUEG "in the process of maturation of the first mixture.

Now I think it's better to share with you some observations.
I chose to use small amount of flour and start with small doses mainly due to the uncertainty on the success of the final product. I have also seen that in the process of refreshing and use, I am most comfortable refreshing almost all the yeast with exception of the superficial part I that waste. If you need more sourdough than that obtained by the refreshing, I think it's better to refresh several times, to get the amount needed plus the amount to keep aside for the next time.
The volume that is obtained in the phases of refreshment and rising is obviously lower than that obtained in the rising of dough with gluten.
In the picture above, you will notice a rubber band on the jar. Well, that's where arrived the gluten-free sourdough, before rise. So as you can see, the bulk rising increases its volume slightly less than double. 
As soon as I was able, I wanted to try a sliced bread with buckwheat flour and teff porridge. The result was not exciting, but overall I can be satisfied. I got a nice loaf, fairly soft and relatively compact. The crumb had a fine alveolation well distributed and overall I got, after cooking, an increase of volume equal to two thirds more than the volume at the beginning of cooking. All in all, the scarce lightness of the loaf that I got, was largely compensated by the aroma and especially by flavor of this bread.
the loaf obtained from the first use of "Queequeg!"

Here's how appeared the alveolation in the crumb.

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