Holy Freaking Deliciousness Batman!

IMG_4495

Sourdough success!

You wouldn’t think that my first attempt at sourdough bread would turn out looking and tasting incredible.  You’d be right.   It’s edible, but not incredible.

I used a cast iron pot to cook up my first loaf following the method from a blog called Stone Soup (here). It sounded simple enough, and indeed it was easy to follow.  However I had a few issues along the way, namely:

My dough seemed way too wet and was difficult to handle.

My dough didn’t rise.

I burned the hell out of my fingers trying to put the searing hot lid back on the pot bare handed. (Yes, I’m an idiot).

I used wholemeal spelt flour instead of the bread flour in the recipe (because that was what I had in my cupboard).  I’m not sure how much this affected the results.  After the initial mixing it looked really wet so I added a touch more flour.  After 12-15 hours settling time (overnight and then the couple hours it took me to attend to it this morning) it was still looking soupy and not at all inflated.

I persevered with the sloppy dough to see what would happen.  Aside from me burning my fingers raw, this is what happened:

IMG_4481

IMG_4498

IMG_4492

 

The resulting loaf was very flat and very dense.  It does, however, taste quite nice. Particularly when eaten warm, spread with organic pastured butter.  So at least it can be eaten, which is a win.

But this lovely, if a little solid, loaf of spelt sourdough is not my sourdough success story.  That refers to these little beauties!

IMG_4468

 

That, my friend, is a glorious stack of freshly cooked homemade sourdough crumpets.  Oh yes.  I made crumpets.

I’ve wanted to make crumpets for years, ever since I heard a friend say she had made some.  But it involved yeast and I’m a bit lazy when it comes to things that need yeast.  Especially at breakfast time.

But as I halved and fed my new sourdough starter yesterday and prepared my bowl of bread dough, I set the extra aside thinking it could maybe make for some interesting pancakes in the morning.  As I settled in to bed last night a little thought broke through-

‘Crumpets!’ it cried. ‘Sourdough crumpets!’

‘Interesting idea,’ I thought. ‘I wonder if sourdough crumpets is a thing.’

Google (bless it’s little digital socks) told me that it was indeed a thing and offered up some recipe options.  The lovely Clotilde at Chocolate & Zucchini had an easy looking recipe (here), and so I whipped them up for breakfast.  And then, er, for morning tea.  And it’s taking all my willpower not to eat the few leftover right now. Thank you Clotilde. They are to die for.

I love crumpets.  As a kid I would slather them with butter and honey until it dripped through and made a puddle on the plate. Then I would turn them upside down, suck the rest of the golden mess out and re-dip the crumpet in the puddle.  Messy, but delicious.  (Ok, I still do that).

These were better than any store bought crumpets I’ve ever had.  Lighter, fluffier, more flavoursome.  Just yum. Oh so yum.

Here are some more pictures of the tasty little rounds…

Fresh from the pan:

IMG_4471

Toasted and topped with butter and maple syrup:

IMG_4482

Totally worth the effort of starting a starter.

If I never make bread again I will keep my sourdough starter alive just for these crumpets.

Go make some.

 

It’s Alive!

The yeasties are blooming!

IMG_4460

The above picture is my starter this afternoon after three days of flour and water feedings.

I have very little (no) experience in the sourdough business, but the blogs and common sense tell me that when it comes to capturing wild yeast bubbles are good news.  The bubbles are appearing quickly after a good strong stir and the mixture is giving off a not totally unpleasant sour vinegaresque smell. Hopefully I’m cultivating a nice little starter that will work.

According to the starter recipe I used (this one) tomorrow my starter should be in full bloom and ready for maintenance and use.

Coincidentally, but conveniently, tomorrow will be Sunday.  This seems like a good omen somehow.  I’d love to get into the habit of baking a fresh loaf every Sunday for the week ahead.

Now to scout out easy looking recipes for my first bread attempt!

 

 

Starting Sourdough

There’s something so homely and comforting about freshly baked bread.  Just thinking about it fires up the senses; I can feel the warmth of a wood fire oven, smell the delicious yeasty smell of a fresh loaf and hear the crunch of a knife sawing through the golden crust.

That’s just my imagination talking though. I have never had a wood fire oven and I’ve actually baked my own bread less than a handful of times.  But baking bread at home has always appealed to me and I would love to do it more.

I think it’s the preparation required that prevents me from doing it more often.  The last time I tried to make bread I created a surprisingly edible loaf and realised how easy it can actually be, if only you can get yourself organised enough to start several hours (or days) before you want the bread. I guess the frequent bread baker has a bit of a routine in place. I could do that. Maybe.

Last time I used supermarket bought yeast, which was ok, but when it comes to bread my real love is for sourdough. There are a couple of companies locally that make absolutely delicious sourdough loaves, both available from a shop within walking distance from my front door.  Usually they more than satisfy my need for tasty, additive free, fresh bread, but they are one of the key expenses thwarting my attempts to tighten the grocery budget.

In a quiet moment this afternoon motivation finally struck and I decided to start a starter.  If this sourdough starter actually takes off I will attempt to keep it alive and become a regular home bread baker.  Fingers crossed!

Sourdough starter sounds simple (mix some flour and water and wait, essentially) but I’m sure there are a million ways it can go wrong.

Always looking for the least complicated option, I found a wonderfully simple sounding recipe here.

Here’s a snapshot of my starter underway.

 

sourdough starter

 

 

This is equal parts plain flour and water mixed together. I will feed it the same again each day for 5 days and hopefully it will take off!

I didn’t use filtered water (simply because I don’t have any and I don’t have a filter) so hopefully whatever is in the local tap water won’t prevent the yeasties from blossoming.

We’ll have to wait and see….