Bread, real bread, has very few ingredients. Flour, water, salt and yeast. When you are talking about true sourdough bread, the yeast itself is made of flour and water, so in the end, there are only three ingredients! 

This section explores these basic ingredients - and some of the variations within them.

Of course, it's possible to neglect another ingredient without which bread could not be made at all - heat. Even the original sourdough breads, possibly made accidentally from fermented porridge left to bake on a hot rock in the sun, still required heat to create the transformation from porridge to bread.

When viewed this way, then, bread is a transformative process requiring four ingredients - and these ingredients are the elements to create this transformation.

Heat, or the element of fire; flour, or the element air, (as it's the protein transformed to gluten which holds the air); water (self explanatory), and salt, or the element earth. So sourdough is truly Elemental bread

You can add lots of other ingredients to bread, and it would be possible to fill this section up with many more than I have chosen here. However, in the name of simplicity and focus, I won't be discussing the multitudes of other ingredients here. It's the elements of bread that are important. Everything else are just accessories.

Water - a gift to bread

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Ingredients Section

Water is the only ingredient that a baker needs which is given for free.

Of course, water isn't free - it's just that we don't usually pay for it directly. In the cities and towns, it's gathered, treated, and piped to our home or workplace, and we barely think about it except if we need to pay a water levy at some point, or if it rains and our routine is interrupted.That's why bakers love high hydration dough - less to pay for in a loaf of bread.

Salt in Breadmaking

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Salts

'I love you like salt', she said, and the king, her father, was so spurned that he rejected her in favour of more flattering praise.

coarse salt

But as we all know, the daughter was professing her essential relationship with her dad - without him, all else would be ordinary. He made her life have substance and meaning. Thus, he was essential to her.

That's the way it is, too, with bread and salt. Without salt, bread has no meaning.

I don't hold too much truck with those who advocate 'salt free' bread - you can make bread even with tiny amounts of salt - so small as to be negligable, and yet it still has a profound effect. Salt is a bit like religion, or 'spirit', or micronutrients. A little is almost always better than none at all, and definitely always better than too much!