After I joined the Bread Baking group in Facebook, I noticed a few individuals were posting marvellous looking bread, and one thing they had in common, besides flour and salt was the use of an apple water starter. I looked this up in the Internet and there were several web and uTube sites that explained what apple water is, and how to make a starter from this.
I used a recipe that called for the following:
100 gm organic green apple
250 ml chlorine-free water
1-2 teaspoon organic honey, (or organic sugar).
Method: Soak all the utensils and containers in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. This is to reduce bacterial contamination. Cut an organic green apple (with the skin on) into small 2 cm cubes, and place these in a clean glass container. Add in the 250 ml water (I used chlorine -free filtered water), and I added just over a teaspoon of honey. Stir and cover the container and leave this at room temperature. Stir the contents a few times the first day. Nothing much happens until the third day when white small bubbles were seen amongst the apple cubes showing that fermentation has started. On the fourth day, I passed the water from the container through a fine sieve into a large clean glass container and then added 100 gm organic flour and 100 gm filtered water to make the starter. Stirred up this mixture and left it to ferment at room temperature for two hours.
After 2 hours, I had large bubbles forming and the starter had risen to almost double it’s level. I then added 1 cup of this starter to 2 1/2 cups bread flour that has been through autolysis for 20 minutes. Ran this dough mixture in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a dough hook for 10 minutes, adding sea salt in the last few minutes. During the kneading, if necessary, add more flour by the teaspoon to get that silky consistency of the dough that comes off the sides of the KA bowl. After 10 minutes kneading, transfer the smooth, silky dough ball on to a silicone mat, fold the dough several times, and finally form a ball. Proof this in a lightly oiled plastic bowl. covered with a wet dish towel.
I left the remaining starter to ferment further in the bottle, and then stored this in the refrigerator for future use. Just remember to keep the starter happy by feeding it with equal amounts of flour and water daily or every few days.
After 1 hour, fold the dough several times, form a ball and proof further; folding the dough again after 1/2 hour. After this second folding, shape it and set it for the final proof in a brotform banneton basket until it doubles it’s original size in about 2 hours. Spritz water on the dough, slash it and bake on a baking stone in the preheated oven at 240˚C for 25 minutes, and a further 5-10 minutes at 220˚C to brown the loaf.
When cooked, transfer the dough on to a metal rack to cool.
There are more ways that this Apple water starter can be used. I will try longer overnight proofing, to obtain a more open crumb with better flavour. However, if the holes are too big, this may look dramatic, but you would be chewing on little substance. Very large holes in your sliced bread are also not practical for making sandwiches. It may be good for soaking up gravy in a curry dish! But the challenge is to keep experimenting, and be pleasantly surprised with your results!