My sourdoughs

 

When I first began selling breads at markets there were a few (just a few) people asking for sourdough breads.  I have to admit I was not initially keen on the idea of making it at all. It was new to me, and it has taken me a number of years of practice to understand about sourdough and to be confident of producing reliable results.

Any sourdough I produce goes through a journey which takes around four days.

  • I wake up the starter – originally from a San-Fransisco culture, but now my own

  • I feed it for a couple of days before making a leaven. I use a Canadian extra strong flour for this, because I have found this improves the texture of the bread.

  • Then I make a firm starter dough. which is kneaded thoroughly and rises slowly overnight.

  • This is then cut and mixed into the final dough which is folded every 30 minutes for 3-4 hours before it is ready

  • The dough is then formed into loaves and proved for 3-4 hours

  • It is then baked, with steam, in the Rofco oven with its thick stone shelves.

 

I have found that this long process helps to develop the starter in a way that will give me a good texture and produces a bread with just a mildly sour taste.

Why people like sourdough.

 

  • Taste – Different methods and flours have differing tastes, so it is worth experimenting. The slight acidity of sourdough can help to reset people's taste buds so that they are less likely to crave sugar.

  • Health – The sourdough's long fermentation process digests some of the elements of grains and some people who are intolerant of bread produced by industrial processes can find this helpful.

  • Sourdough bread, especially those with whole meal flour, has a Lower Glycemic Index. This means it is absorbed much more slowly by the body. This keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which is useful if you are watching your weight.

  • The slight acidity of sourdough means that it stays fresh longer than a standard loaf. Most breads can be used fresh for 2-3 days, and are even better toasted for a week or even longer. 

  • The breads freeze well.  If double wrapped, they will be good for several months. 

  • Versatility – Traditionally breads formed a key part of every meal. It is fine toasted with breakfast. You can make sandwiches that will not go soggy. A toasted or grilled slice of sourdough is an ideal base for a light lunch with any kind of topping you can think of.  It obviously makes a perfect companion to soup or a casserole, Cubed sour dough lightly fried in olive oil is a great addition to make a salad into a substantial meal. If you do not want to bother with potatoes, rice or pasta as part of a main meal then sourdough, fresh or toasted will work just as well.

 

The sourdough breads I always make

 

Anyone who gets used to the way I approach baking will know that I am always doing something a little different, but I know that many of my customers like something familiar as their basic bread.  So I always try to offer:

  • White sourdough – made with a blend of English and Canadian wheat.

  • Granary sourdough – made with malted grains.

  • Wholemeal sourdough – made with whole ground English and Canadian wheat  

I will generally also have

 

  • Rye. (there are many different varieties of rye bread so these will change from week to week

  • A seeded bread – with lots of different whole grains and seeds

  • A multi grain option – with whatever mix of flour I have to hand.

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