Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: fabulous baker brothers

Sourdough September – how to make the king of loaves

There is something quite magical about sourdough, this glorious loaf that miraculously rises from some water, flour and salt. When you explain to someone for the first time how it’s made they never quite believe that it’s possible or for that matter just how easy it is. Sure the process to make sourdough takes some time and some patience, but in terms of actually doing something to make it the time taken is less than 20 minutes. Once you have a starter that works and get into the cycle of feeding it and making a loaf you will soon become addicted to baking what is rightly known as the king of loaves.

Being the good social media user that I am I of course post photos of these wonderful loaves when I bake them at the weekend just to make sure folk know exactly how awesome I am. Over the past month or so this has resulted in a few people asking me for the recipe so they can have a go at baking a sourdough loaf themselves. I happily obliged and wrote up my method and recipe to share because what can be better than spreading the sourdough love? Unfortunately they are now doing their best to upstage me and make better sourdough than I do, but I shall try not to hold a grudge.

The recipe is mostly based on one from the Fabulous Baking Brothers (of Hobbs House bakery, makers of truly amazing bread) with a few tweaks I’ve learnt along the way. I thought it would be useful to share the recipe here also rather than sending it out on email each time. There are a few approaches to making sourdough but some seem a lot more complicated than this and this simple, straightforward approach seems to work well so why make things harder?

If you ever wondered about sourdough and the mystery of how to make it please do give it a go, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make something so tasty. There is definitely no better time of year to start either, as the days get noticeably shorter and colder a warm slice of sourdough with butter on is just the tonic! If you do decide to have a go please do share the results, I’d love to see them. Always happy to answer any questions you may have too.

Before moving onto the recipe I thought I’d share some photos of the loaves others have made with this recipe, if this doesn’t convince you to have a try I don’t know what will.

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Almost a master baker…

Yes you guessed it my obsession with baking bread has continued, in fact I reckon I’m starting to get pretty good at it. Since my last bread based post here I have changed recipes and am now using one from the new Fabulous Baker Brothers cook book. As these guys are one of my biggest food heroes and make amazing bread I figured it was worth a try.

YeastThe recipe is really nice and produces an amazingly elastic dough. I’ve also learned 2 very
important tips from this book. Firstly don’t use quick action yeast, no need to use fresh yeast but make sure to buy normal dried yeast. I’m using one from Allinson which seems to be very good and gives a tastier bread that what I used previously. The slower action of this yeast gives more time for the flavour to you see. Secondly when you put the bread in the oven put a small cup of water into a hot metal baking tray in the bottom of the oven. The steam from this makes a real difference to the crust that develops on the bread.

Here’s this weekends effort, starting to look like something you’d buy in a bakers I reckon. But still a few things I want to play with; at the moment I’m just using bog standard flour from the supermarket so plan to try out some more artisan flours. I also need to find a knife to cut the top with, it needs to be really bloody sharp and my knives just aren’t doing it. The last thing is the recipe uses oil in the recipe, I’ve used extra virgin olive oil so far but want to try out some different types and rapeseed in particular to see how it changes the flavour.

A quite fascinating process all in all and a quite enjoyable way to spend some time while Matilda naps at the weekend.