Bread is amazing right? That warm smell and crusty outside – ugh, it just makes my heart sing! I’ve always thought that there is something very ‘salt of the earth’ about being able to make your own bread. That, and the shit you get at the supermarket is probably killing us all. Slowly – with little stubby motions… Hrmm maybe that bit is just my imagination!
Over the years I’ve become more and more interested in bread within its natural state. Which has led me to better understand how to use a leven as opposed to a dry packet yeast to make my bread. Last year, I did a sourdough bread making course with the lovely Jodie and Nina, only to have varied success afterwards. Despite the teacher being a local legend from Sourdough Kitchen – I still wasn’t getting great results at home. The bread was tough and had very little rise in the crumb. So much love put in but the results were just not there. Later I trashed my starter, leaving it out to become a stinky fermented mess. I was so pissed off and gave up completely. Going back to buying bread from the local sourdough kitchen.
My dear friend Nina on the other hand, was making us delicious bread with a ‘no-knead’ recipe she found online. You see, Nina ignored almost all of the class that we did and took on this method instead. Her bread was ace! I would eat it by the truck load. So after whingeing about how mine never turned out right, I took a little container of her starter and the link to Breadtopia and decided to give it all another go.
The recipe I have been using from Breadtopia is a ‘No-Knead’ Sourdough which involves little intervention. You mix the flours, salt, starter and water and basically leave the bread to do its thing. A quick knock back after 12-16 hours, a second shorter proof and then bake it. The difference in the baking seems to be the use of the cast iron dutch oven. Fortunately, we got given some fancy french ones as a wedding present that can take the heat of a 500F oven. The dutch oven keeps the moisture kicking about in a smaller space and this results is a better crust. And lets face the crust is a big part of the sourdough experience! So far I’ve just made the basic loaf – but every time its been great. I’m super excited. All the people around me are sick of hearing about it. But I’m just so pleased that I can now do this at home. I can’t wait to give the variations a go next. Baking bread is awesome and like I said earlier, much better than that stuff you get from the supermarket. If, like me, you’ve had mixed success with baking your own sourdough – maybe give this a try!