I love kefir and always trying different ways on how to use it and one of my favourites is making bread.
I don’t eat bread everyday. In fact I may go a week or so and not have a bite of it. When I do eat it though, it needs to feel like it is nourishing my body and I want to enjoy it for what it is, not as something to hold my salad together!
Sourdough bread is a real favourite of mine. But sourdough needs to be loved and used. I can’t give it the commitment it needs – so that’s where kefir comes in! I’m a big fan of kefir and use it most days for a gut bacteria boost. But it also does amazing things to flour too. Kefir sourdough may not taste exactly the same as a ten year old starter but it is quicker to make and gives a wonderful flavour.
So here we have 220g of milk kefir which was left to ferment for 24 hours. I then added 200g of strong white flour, gave it a stir to incorporate and then left it another 24-ish hours. I didn’t stir it or disturb it at all in this time.
If I tip the bowl slightly you can see how beautiful and airy the kefir sourdough has become. I haven’t kneaded it at all yet it has still doubled in size and developed a wonderful framework of gluten strands. I wasn’t able to tip the bowl further and hold the camera but as I poured it out it became so long and stringy. Perfect!
I had my grandchildren coming round so I wanted something they could enjoy so I made rosemary tear and share bread. They enjoy picking a piece themselves and pulling it apart.
220g fermented milk kefir (mine had around 24 hours and had separated)
375g Strong white flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp yeast to give them a boost but not needed if you have a lot of spare time!
Start by combining the milk kefir with about 3/4 of the white flour. Stir it in (I always use plastic spoons when stirring kefir) and make sure all the flour gets combined into the liquid. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for about 24 hours. I usually make it up in a morning and then use it in bread making the next morning.
Finally add in the rest of the ingredients and give it a knead. I put mine in the Thermomix on dough setting for about 3 mins. It should turn into a pile of stretchy pillowy dough. Adjust the water or flour content if it is too sticky or too dry at this point.
Now form it into small balls of dough. I like to pull the ball of dough, then fold the ends into the middle, turn the ball round and repeat a few times. Then I shape it into a round and place the balls into a rough circle. You don’t want them to be touching at this point as they will rise and fill in the gaps between themselves.
When the rolls are well risen, probably 30-45 mins in a warm kitchen. I do a little milk wash to wet the tops and threw some rosemary on from the garden. Pop them in the oven at 200c and reduce the temp to 180c after about five mins. My oven has a steam injection in it so my temps and times may be different to yours so check with your manufacturer for bread recommendations. I start checking on mine after 20 mins.
If I’m making them for grown ups I often add caramalised red onion, tucking it between the dough balls. chuck plenty of rosemary on and then add a few extra fresh twigs after it comes out of the oven to add drama. Fantastic for a bbq or picnic!