I have been tentatively experimenting with bread recently. My past experiences of homemade bread don't bring back fond memories. Rather, homemade bread for me reminds me of hard, flat, doughy yuckness. I hasten to add that these memories are formed of my own bread-making sessions, not those of my accomplished bread-making friends.
However, I am tackling my food-foes, so bread needed to be tackled.
A friend from work recommended sourdough. I happen to really like sourdough, so it was settled. I would make sourdough. Turns out, you can't just make sourdough. Internet research informed me that in order to make sourdough I needed a sourdough starter. Said starter needs to mature and get nice and stinky (hence, sourdough). So began my exploration into sourdough. In a nutshell, a sourdough starter is flour, water and yeast, left to ferment and collect all the wonderful wild yeast in the air. I have seen suggestions for variations of the starter - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall uses rhubarb in his. I decided that, as a first-timer, I should stick with a more simple mix. As long as you feed it (flour and water), the starter should last indefinitely. The starter looks like you imagine a flour and water mix would - a rather insipid colour, with a few bubbles due to the fermentation.
So, with my starter "started", it was time to make sourdough!
I used this recipe to make my sourdough. It's quite a time-consuming process, but only in that you have long gaps where you are waiting for the bread to rise. I don't consider that a problem as I can always amuse myself in the kitchen!
All the ingredients needed a good knead. What a great way to get a workout in the kitchen!!
Leave it to rise and find something else to do in the kitchen.
Lovely and risen!
The finished product! A little darker than I would have liked, I think it was possibly a little to high in the oven. That's easy to fix next time.
The bottom however, was a beautiful golden colour!
I cooked my bread on a pizza stone to try and ensure the oven held the heat. It seemed to work well. The texture of the bread was lovely and soft, no doughy yuckness. So, sourdough - a success! Onto the next bread...