Before we went off on our island adventure I used to make Sourdough bread. It was ok. Quite sour but ok.
A few weeks ago, I thought I'd have another go. I needed to start again from scratch. I used Hugh FW's method which I used last time. You start but making a starter - a flour and water mixture that you leave somewhere warm until it starts to bubble. The theory is that the naturally occurring yeasts in the air get into it, have a feast on the wheat and start to grow.
Well mine started to froth up after about 24 hours. You are not supposed to use it straight away but feed it more flour and water every day or so for a week. Well, by day 4 the smell was invading the whole kitchen. It was strongly acidic and frankly smelled of vomit. There was no way anyone was eating it! So I washed it down the plug hole and tried again.
I didn't do anything different, but this time nothing happened, at least, not at first. I dutifully fed it each day and after a few days bubbles started to appear. And it started to smell. A delicious yeasty, bready, slightly appley good smell. Hurrah!
Btw, I just love the illustrations in the River Cottage books.
So, Ta Da, one starter! The next step is to make a sponge. You take some of your starter (reserving the rest to keep feeding and using in the future) and mix it with lots of flour and water to make a paste. You leave this overnight and it should get all bubbly and fragrant.
The next day you make a dough by adding flour and salt to your sponge, kneed it, leave is to rise, make a loaf, prove the loaf and...
Ta Da! Yummy bread. This one is half and half brown and white flours.
This one is white with seeds in.
Then you watch it disappear in seconds!
They were a little dense but completely delicious and not sour at all.
I have since tried making rolls using a conventional recipe and converting it to sourdough. They ware the best yet but sadly they went so fast I didn't get any pics!
Next up, a plain white loaf for Little Man.