Two weeks ago I decided to have a go at making real sourdough bread. I followed instructions on the interweb for making a starter. I can’t recommend any one source because I think I read everything there is to read on the subject. All I know is that it took two weeks for my starter to get anywhere near lively – it should take around 5 days. I nearly gave up, it was taking a lot of flour, love and organisational effort to keep my jar of natural yeast alive and well. I tried one loaf and it didn’t rise one iota – it went in the bin. I read more, persevered, and last night decided to give it one last chance.
The simplest recipe and technique I found for actually making and baking the bread was by The Stone Soup and can be found here. I found I needed to add extra flour though as my dough was way too wet. There are lots of different ways to make a “starter”, but I used a method which just used flour and water with no additional “boosters” like pineapple juice or packet yeast. This could explain why my starter took a long time for the little yeasty beasties to build up stamina; well, that and the ambient (cold) air temperature in an old stone Scottish house in late October.
This morning my dough had risen quite spectacularly! Given it was Sunday, I decided to go to church, which I do on occasion. My loaf would have to wait to be baked. I went to church, it was communion day (also only on occasion). I took this as a sign that today was a good day for bread. The sermon’s message was “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I took this as another sign. I came home, I baked my bread et voilà. I was going for a rustic look!
It’s light and is crusty and sounds very hollow when tapped. I can’t describe exactly what what I did and why it worked – due to the high degree of “winging it” and Divine intervention. So, the moral of this tale, if you want something go for it, persevere, have faith, and don’t give up. Must fly, hubby is drooling and wants us to make a start on the beef, Guinness and veg casserole that we are hoping to mop up with this ‘ere loaf.
UPDATE: casserole jus duly mopped up with the most delicious bread I have ever tasted. And for dessert, the last few slices of bread with Scottish butter and home made raspberry jam. Better make another loaf – quick.