Adventures in Sourdough #1

Years ago I baked bread regularly and I had some success with it. If I was having people over to a BBQ, I would bake a couple of loaves to go with everything. Homemade bread is better than shop bread. That said, I always used a packet of yeast and never attempted to make bread the traditional way.

More recently I tried to make sourdough bread and had no success. It’s time to try again. Sourdough bread is made from flour and water as you would expect, but the yeasts are naturally occurring in the air and wheat. In order to make the bread rise, this morning I have made a Sourdough starter.

I’m following the method in this book: Do Sourdough. The book is short and straight to the point, but also has been recommended to me by a regular sourdough baker. He is a recently new colleague and since joining a number of us are taking an interest in sourdough. A couple of weeks ago, he gave me some of his starter (named Gladys). Unfortunately, Gladys got an infection and died shortly afterwards.

So this morning, Eileen was born in the kitchen. Eileen is made from 50g of organic wholewheat flour and 100ml of warm water. I used bottled water to avoid any issues with chlorine, but I could have left tap water out overnight. I heated the water to roughly 35°C to give everything a kickstart. There should be nothing in the flour or in the water preventing growth.

Eileen is living in the airing cupboard and I will be feeding her daily. You may, of course, be thinking that I’ve gone mad naming a sourdough starter, but there is some sense in it. Sourdough bakers share their starters and it can be a good way of keeping track of the descendants.

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