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Adventures in Sourdough

Posted by on May 20, 2014

I do not understand the bread phobic. Carb avoiders baffle me. The truly gluten intolerant I get, but the rest of you…

Who amongst you can resist a freshly baked loaf?

Well, not me. I love bread with a passion. The smell, taste, texture make me swoon. Making bread is my therapy, in the time it takes to kneed and shape a loaf I am thoroughly zen. The smell that swirls and wafts through out the house is better than any potpourri  on the market.

The dough is first shy, it wants to please. Then with confidence it rises into the soft pillow that will willingly take on any shape and flavour you choose. Placed into the oven it swells and grows taking on a burnished golden tan. Left to cool, the crust crackles and snaps.

And then I get to eat it. How is this not a happy thing?

I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say: I have no time for such things. You’re going to say : The loaf I pick up at the market is fine. You’re going to say : it’s too hard. You’re wrong.

It takes less time than you think, try reading the list of ingredients on your store bought loaf, and it is easy. I promise.

A little effort, a little patience, and an adventurous spirt is all that is required. That, and just a few ingredients.

Shall we start?

First I will introduce you to what is called sourdough. It requires a starter.

A starter is essentially naturally fermented dough. And although there are many recipes out there that have a long list of ingredients, mine is simplicity itself. It imparts a full rich taste and aroma that is like nothing else. It is a natural leavening agent, with little or no extra yeast needed. It’s a science experiment in your kitchen. It is a live thing, in need of nurturing and regular feeding. It will be the least demanding pet you have ever care for.

Here is what you will need:

A large jar (like a ltr canning jar) mine lives in an old mustard jar.

1 Cup whole meal flour ( I used a grain called ‘Red Fife’, It’s an heirloom grain making a strong comeback with serious bakers) 

1 Cup tepid water ( out of the tap is just fine)

Place the flour and the tepid water into the jar, add one tablespoon of honey. Stir until smooth. Place a piece of paper towel over the rim of the jar. Secure with an elastic band.

Place the jar in a warm corner of the kitchen somewhere out of the way . In about 48 hours you should see activity.



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