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Sourdough success! (well… sort of…)

July 20, 2010

I’m certainly not the Sourdough Queen and that’s really because I’m lazy. I don’t want to knead my bread and I don’t have the patience for traditional hand made sourdough – although I do love to eat it!

Being someone who likes to potter in the kitchen, I really wanted to crack this sourdough thing and decided the “wet method” of sourdough making that I learnt at Sandra Frain’s workshop was for me. This is a method where you don’t have to knead the bread! It’s very easy – you just take your “starter” out of the fridge, dump 2/3 of it in a bowl, feed it with flour and water and put it back in the fridge for next time. Then to the bowl you add flour and water and leave it to sit (ferment, rise) overnight. In the morning you add fat (e.g. coconut oil), acid (e.g. apple cider vinegar), molasses, salt, and more flour, mix it and put it in the tin to rise for about 4 hours. Then you bake it. No kneading!

I wouldn’t say it’s the most delicious sourdough bread I’ve eaten and I’m sure it can be improved but it passes. Mine is a bit doughy inside still which is possibly my ancient oven (30 year old commercial Waldorf, such a furnace we have to cook everything on low) or it’s the cooking time. Meanwhile I continue to dream of a programmable breadmaker as a friend once showed me how she makes the most divine sourdough bread in her breadmaker! Yes, I’m a technology girl, I confess. If it makes it easier, quicker and more efficient (but still healthy) then I’m into it! (I hate microwaves though).

Bread is pretty addictive so at least with this very rich rye sourdough, we don’t eat too much of it! I did succumb to temptation and order a Middle Eastern fruit loaf in this week’s Food Connect delivery though.

The best thing about bread is the butter…. real butter and lots of it! We get beautiful creamy yellow yellow butter made from cultured cream from the farmers’ markets in Brisbane. Oh boy, once you’ve tried real butter you can never return to the poor excuse for butter that you buy at the supermarket (even organic) and margarine? Don’t get me started! My lovely mother grew up on a farm and she says that our butter tastes just like the butter her mother used to churn when she was a girl.

A final comment about butter before you start sucking in your waistline and feeling for palpitations: A friend was telling me the other day that his grandparents used to put thick thick slabs of butter on their bread. And guess what? They lived to 100! Now isn’t that saying something? Kayo, my little almost 2 year old, loves butter. Forget the bread, just give her a little bowl of butter and a teaspoon and she’s happy!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. christina houen permalink
    July 20, 2010 9:46 pm

    I empathise with your impatience with manual handling of food that requires more than an hour or so. Life’s too short, I tell myself. Anyway, though I used to dabble with kneading bread, I have no desire to do it now. The method you describe as a shortcut sounds ok-ish, but I wonder about the breadmaker. How much are they, the sort you are thinking of? Have you written a letter to Santa?

    • July 20, 2010 10:02 pm

      Hopefully my wet method will be tastier by the time you come for a visit! Apparently any programmable breadmaker will do. My friend’s breadmaker is a Sunbeam Quantum Smartbake programmable dough and breadmaker. And, yes I was thinking today that Santa could be the way to go! Lucky my birthday is not long after too!

  2. christina houen permalink
    July 20, 2010 9:51 pm

    PS. my parents, farm people, as you mention, ate lots of animal fat, meat, and used dripping for frying; my mum also, for a while, ground wheat and made her own bread, thus curing herself of a vitamin B deficiency. But she lived in the outback, without any aids, including electricity. I wouldn’t choose to go back to that, but could if I needed to. Anyhow, the point is, she lived till 87 and he lived till 97 and a half! And we ate meat 3 times a day.

    • July 20, 2010 10:09 pm

      We have lost so many of the skills and so much of the knowledge of your parents’ generation (you still seem to have much of it but I have very little). Kayo and I had diarrhea on the weekend and John Palmer dropped by for a visit so I asked him if any of the weeds were good for this. He brought in some leaves from a plant in our garden (I will ask him the name and post about it). He said that people in the gold fields used to put it in water in their babies’ bottles to stop diarrhea. Our diarrhea stopped soon after having these leaves (I ate mine and gave kayo some in water) – coincidence or not, I don’t know but what wonderful properties these plants have and we have all but lost this knowledge!

  3. Dee Sier permalink
    July 20, 2010 10:11 pm

    Great to see a blog from you after so long.

    It looks delicious & the butter you buy is divine !
    I’m a butter lover too especially with sourdough rye !
    One day I’ll perfect it as well, maybe ?
    Mine never seems to be anything like Sandra’s either ? I always feel that the weather has a big influence on sourdough & also that Sandra puts her’s in a cold oven so the dough warms up with the oven I don’t know if that the secret? or her ‘magic touch’.

    • July 23, 2010 9:46 pm

      Thanks Dee! Just trying to find the time in the juggle of life to get back into blogging regularly ;-). I do the cold oven trick too. Maybe it’s the magic touch! Or it’s the freshly milled flour. My friend who does sourdough in a breadmaker said it makes a huge difference to her bread when she mills her own flour. She’s a lucky owner of the coveted schnitzer mill. Now that’s even out of Santa’s budget!! Have to come up with some other strategies for one of these! 😉

  4. July 25, 2010 5:06 pm

    i should get back to the sourdough too. mine too was always a bit damp in the middle, and our oven runs hot as well. but i do have a breadmaker which we use regularly. i will do Sandra’s wet-method in mine this week and report back. so, on with a new starter.

  5. July 25, 2010 6:49 pm

    Pen, I don’t know how the wet method would go in the breadmaker. Let me know if you want the recipe for the breadmaker method and I’ll send it through to you.

    • la Maman permalink
      October 25, 2010 7:00 pm

      Hi Filippa, I’m a Brisbane Food Connect subscriber who just discovered your blog. May I ask which Farmers’ markets you get your butter from? I’d love to get my hands on some proper butter.

  6. October 25, 2010 9:38 pm

    Hi la Maman, I’m pretty sure Camille sells his butter at all the farmers’ markets in Brisbane. We usually go to West End but it’s also available at Powerhouse and Manly markets. It’s divine but be warned, there is no turning back! 😉

    • la Maman permalink
      October 25, 2010 10:04 pm

      Thanks Filippa, our closest markets are the Moggill markets – I don’t remember seeing him there but they’re pretty small. Might have to make a special trip to the West End markets one of these days! Love your blog btw… we took a trip down to the Currumbin ecovillage once, beautiful place, would love to live somewhere like that one day.
      Maelle

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