Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sourdough bread

I don't think I'm a bad mother.....

Next week Dave and I will be at Gareth's Masters graduation ceremony. He's doing all right for himself in London and Owen is living and working in Bristol. With plenty of support and nurturing they've grown into independent young men. So why am I doubting my motherly skills.... well I have (or rather had) 3 new 'babies' in my life ........ sourdough babies!

About 2 weeks ago I started to grow and nurture my sourdough babies - I made one from rye flour and the other from white flour. I carefully followed the recipe and step-by-step method in The Pocket Bakery book by Rose Prince, a Christmas present from the lads last year. 

Just like children the sourdough starters need feeding, watering, warmth and a very close eye watching over them for the first few weeks of their 'lives'. Sadly one of my 'babies' turned a funny colour and started smelling and, after referring to the trouble-shooting section of the book there seemed to be little I could do to resurrect the starter, so it had to be discarded.  

RIP - 1 week old sourdough starter

Luckily I'd had the opportunity to adopt another 'offspring' courtesy of Owen. This was no baby though - it is reportedly 15 years old and 'grew up' in Joe's Bakery in Bristol. So my new 'family' consists of a very active teenager who I keep in a jar in the fridge and feed every 3 to 5 days and a struggling 2 week old baby in an incubator (i.e plastic tub).

I don't (yet) have all the equipment to make professional looking sourdough loaves so I have muddled along with what I have - although I did splash out on a terracotta baking stone. I'll have to drop hints for my birthday coming up for a wooden paddle and some banneton baskets! I was very pleased with my first efforts though. Practice makes perfect and I need to learn how this dough differs to dough I am more familiar with, how to correctly gauge the temperature and time needed for the optimum slow rising and how to manhandle and turn out a beautiful artisan loaf.

I do have quite a bit of time on my hands at the moment so I've no excuse not to try and perfect this new skill. I suspect my waistline is going to suffer!!


  1. I was surprised to find out last year that all the traditional white bread in our local bakery is made with sour dough starter, not yeast. So I suppose I could go and ask for a cup full and start feeding a "baby" too.

  2. Give it a go! You'd have to make sure Teo would look after the 'baby' in your absence - every 3 to 5 days you need to refresh/feed it with a new source of food (flour) and moisture (water). Good luck....