I have fallen in love with the ancient art of sourdough. There is something so satisfying in making something that takes time and then sustains you for a more than one meal. Making my own bread also brings back very fond memories of my dear Great Nanny, who was an amazing cook; years ago, my Mum told me about visiting Great Nanny as a little girl and watching in awe as she made bread each day in a wood fired oven. When I was a few weeks into my sourdough journey, my parents we’re over for dinner, while I was in the first fermentation stage where you fold the dough, Mum exclaimed “that’s how Great Nannie used to do it!”.
It took just over a week to get raise my starter from just flour and water. Then about four weekends of baking to work out the best method with the flour I use, my oven etc etc.
BUT, the results are truly worth it. I now get a crunchy, fluffy, chewy, and tangy loaf every time.
Take your time, experiment, and work out how to build the process into your routine.
Each week I take my starter out of the fridge on a Thursday morning, feed it before and after work then start the leaven on Friday before work. The dough starts to take shape on Friday night as we eat dinner. Then slowly ferments in the fridge overnight, to come out and get to room temperature on Saturday while I go do the grocery shopping. The final stages of shaping, resting, and baking into a loaf happen as I go about the day.
We have fresh bread each Sunday morning for breakfast and as needed throughout the week. Ever second week I make two loaves, slicing the second loaf to have spare in the freezer.
Ferment goes into a great deal of detail; explaining each step of the process from raising a starter, to the leaven to fermenting and baking the dough. Each of the variations that have ultimately worked to form my weekly baking process are just some of the suggestions in the book. There are 14 pages of information and photographs to guide you through the process. Very few books I’ve come across contain such a comprehensive guide for a beginner.
Happy baking. I think the next recipe I'll try from this book is going to be cultured butter.