It’s become a weekend ritual of mine to make bread. To take the sourdough starter out of the fridge, feed it and wait for the bubbles to swell it up gives me a lovely sense of anticipation. Because we are no longer such a large family in the house, I make two smaller loaves and freeze one until mid-week. It’s also nice to keep a few small loaves in the freezer that can be given to friends and neighbours when the moment arises.
I swap between making a levain or just going straight into the dough-making. Both work well so it’s usually based on timing of the day ahead. If I am taking the dog out I make the levain and leave it to grow whilst we are out so I can make the dough on my return. It’s also a good time to feed the starter and give it a chance to start it’s ferment before returning it to the fridge for another week.
I’ve recently started adding 25g of toasted linseed to the dough, and that is lovely. I’ve also reduced the 10g salt to 8g with no detriment to the loaf and a better taste.
Last week I gave 100g of my precious starter to a friend, along with my recipe that works every time. I had had some difficulty persuading her to try her own sourdough-bread-baking when she told me she was paying £3.50 for a sourdough loaf! Her initial reluctance was based on a belief that it was over-complicated, but she agreed to have a go. After a few feeds we reckoned that the starter should be ready to divide to make her dough by Sunday. However, I received a desperate message on Sunday afternoon because Asda had not delivering the bread flour she had been expecting, and she had none in the cupboard.
Luckily I had some strong floor to spare so badges it up and popped it out on the doorstep for her to collect, (social distancing). An hour or so later I received a photo of the dough, and this morning another picture – of a gloriously crusty loaf straight out of the oven. It felt as rewarding as if I had made it!
It gave me such pleasure to see my careful nurtured sourdough starter providing the basis for lovely bread to another household.
Her verdict? “It’s actually easier than making normal bread with dried yeast because you can fit it around doing other things and leave it overnight”. She is chuffed because it tastes great, and is keen to experiment with other floors and additions like seeds. It does get a bit addictive and I’m hoping she is a convert!
I will try a wholemeal version when I get some wholemeal flour so we hopefully we can experiment and share our results together.