Marriage's white sourdough recipe

W & H Marriage & Sons Ltd has been milling flour in Essex since 1824. They are committed to selecting the best quality wheats, sourcing much from farmers based within 25–30 miles of Chelmer Mills in Essex. Marriage’s flour is produced using a combination of traditional techniques they have used for generations and the best modern milling technology. All of their stoneground wholemeal flours are traditionally milled on horizontal French Burr stones. These stones have been used for milling flour for over a hundred years and play a vital part in the taste and texture of the flour. Their home baking range has won more than 40 Great Taste Awards, and includes organic, speciality and traditional stoneground flours for making breads, cakes and pastry. Here Marriage's Millers are giving our readers their recipe to make delicious sourdough!  Mixing time: 10 minutes      Resting time: 4 hours       Proving time: 2 ½ - 4 hours Makes: 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves
  • 500g Marriage's Finest Strong White Flour
  • 200g White Mother (see recipe)
  • 10g Salt
  • 300ml Tepid water

You will need:

  • 1 large or 2 small proving basket(s)
  • Baking tray / baking stone
  • Semolina for dusting
  1. Preheat your oven to 240°C (fan – 230°C).
  2. Mix all of the ingredients in a mixer for approximately 8 minutes until it’s developed and feels smooth and elastic. Alternatively this will take about 10 minutes by hand.
  3. Place the dough in a well-oiled, large bowl and cover with cling film, or use a plastic container with a lid. The dough will need to rest for a total of 4 hours. After each hour do a gentle half turn - fold the dough one third to the centre then fold the remaining two thirds over the first third, see diagram.
  4. After 4 hours delicately divide the dough into 2 x 500g/1 x 900g loaves and lightly pre-shape to the shape of your proving basket.
  5. Rest the dough pieces on a table for 15 minutes covered with a tea towel.
  6. Very gently shape the dough into rounds or rectangles to fit the shape of the proving basket. Carefully place the moulded dough into a well-floured proving basket(s) with the seam facing up.
  7. Prove for 2 ½ - 4 hours at room temperature. Cover with oiled cling film so that the dough doesn’t develop a skin.
  8. Gently tip the proved dough out of the proving basket (seam down) on to a heated, baking tray/baking stone heavily sprinkled with semolina. Add shallow quick cuts along the top with a serrated knife.
  9. Place in the oven pre-heated to 240°C. Put a roasting tin in the base of the oven with 4 tablespoons of water (this creates steam to help the bread form a good crust). Bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 220°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Check it is baked by tapping the bottom of the sourdough. It should sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack to set the crust.

Recipe tips:

  • At stage 2 of the recipe, after mixing the dough, add 100g pitted green olives or 100g grated beetroot. Turn the dough as described in step 2 - continue with the folds every hour, for a total of 4 hours. You’ll see the olives/beetroot gently dispersed throughout the dough.
  • You can substitute 300ml water for 300ml quality, flat ale, we like to keep it local and use Adnam’s Broadside Ale – this ale is ideal for baking bread.
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