Heading for the hills!
In previous posts, I've talked about my bakery's illegal origins. It has always been 'the bakery that just had to be'. It couldn't wait for money or permission or public understanding of fermented bread. We are in 1993, and Australia has begun to discover, among other things, coffee.
My Glorious Sourdough Obsession
It's actually quite difficult to choose the point where normal existence ceased and my baking obsession took over. But that's what happened. One day, or it could have been many days, a bit at a time, I became more interested in making bread than just about anything else.
How to use an oven properly
Baking bread is trickier than the recipe books will tell you! But it's also simpler.With a bit of thermal understanding, you can turn a well made and formed dough into something special via expert use of the oven.
That's why you need to read this to understand how to get the results you want.
Fifty fifty Sourdough
This delicious and deeply flavoursome bread is made using the dough starter sourdough (desem) technique. It's meant to be baked on the sole of the oven, and when you get it right, you should have a nice, open crumb - though it won't be as open as a dough made entirely on white flour.
Continental Bread was one of my family's staple breads. There are numerous variations on the theme of a traditional yeasted sourdough recipe. I call them all 'Semi Leaven' breads, because they contain some sourdough starter and a tiny amount of yeast, which creates a light yet flavoursome bread, with the kind of crust that's typically Italian.
Maintaining the Starter
Keeping your sourdough starter alive seems to be the thing that takes new sourdough bakers the longest to master. There's a good reason for that - I think it takes people a while to grasp the fact that sourdough starter is actually alive, not just flour and water. As such, it has its own rhythms and requirements, and it doesn't always conform to our own.
Intro to Sourdough Starter
The thing about Sourdough Bread which makes it unique is the Starter it is made from.
Starters are living things - they eat, sleep, multiply and, if looked after correctly, can be very productive. Starter is tough, too - in the case of my own starter, it has had a long life (over 20 years), and while it's had a few close shaves, so far it's lived to tell the tale!
Dough Starter (Desem)
The amazing thing about making sourdough bread is that each time one makes a new discovery, there is a pretty good chance that someone has been there before; thus, nothing is new!
When I started running my starter at a ratio of 2 parts flour to 1 part water, I thought I had finally solved a long term starter issue. Turned out, the Finnish folk have been running their starter that way for centuries!