This is my starter, it is alive and bubbles away quietly waiting for me to use it or feed it
You can see that while I was asleep my starter rose a fair bit in this jar and then fell back to this level, but it is lovely and bubbly and has such a lovely smell :)
When it is resting I cover it with a breathable lid and do not seal it with the lid that is attached to the jar
On Saturday evening, I made a leaven for the Rolled Oat Sourdough Boule on the Bakerybits website. I didn’t photograph this step, but when I came down in the morning, it had done it’s job and turned into a lively mass. I only wanted to make half the quantity in the recipe but I made the full amount of leaven and just used half of it, it was really difficult to simply dispose of the other half, but it was only a bit of flour and water….I can hear Vanessa saying this lol
Just over a week ago, I spent the day at Sourdough School with the lovely Vanessa Kimbell. I had spent many a day trying my hand at the ancient craft of making bread using airborne yeasts, with mixed results that sort of pleased me but I knew that I should be doing better!
Turns out I was doing the first bit wrong, I had read so many articles on how to look after your starter, I ended up so confused and just did my own thing, based on all this information buzzing around the world wide web. I had tried to do the Paul Hollywood version with grapes and that died, then I bought a powdered version of a starter and I killed that with too much heat! (now that did pong!!) Then I bought a readymade live starter and managed to keep that one alive by feeding it every day, and I used that one in my trials…..the loaves that I created were ok, but were on the heavy side, and the length of time I had to leave the bread to prove caused the bread to be a bit too sour for our tastes
If you know me, you will know that I don’t give up easily!
I eagerly awaited the date of my day at Sourdough School, the courses get booked up so quickly, but I knew that this was the course I needed so that could understand what I was doing (and what I was doing wrong)
It seemed an age that I waited for my turn at the School, and in the meantime, I was still doing my best to produce a good loaf, and seeing my results now, I realise that the bread that I thought was OK, wasn’t really OK at all!
This pretty garden greeted me after my 1 1/2 hour drive to Northampton, I had to get up very early! Well early for me!
This is Vanessa’s stunning vegetable patch, I am totally jealous, but I will have a veg patch probably next year now, we are having a wall built but that story is for another time
and this is the dining area of the school, oh that lunch was tasty!
Before lunch, we had a bonus visit from Vanessa’s Dad who produces the most delicious wine. I don’t usually drink in the day, or at night for that matter, but the thought of some fine fresh sparkling wine was just too tempting. I suffer with migraines and alcohol can be an instant trigger so I usually stick to fine Prosecco if I need a bit of fizz. This wonderfully light fizz did not give me a migraine or headache of any description and went down a treat. Think that is what prompted me to buy a couple of bottles which is being kept for a special occasion…I’m sure there will be one soon!
Right, back to the Rolled Oat Boule
This is the mix after I had done all the lifting and turning as required in the recipe. I could feel the bounce in the dough and felt very positive that this time, this recipe was going to work!
After a few hours the dough had risen to the top of the proving basket, I had been sewing whilst this was happening. I think that is what I love best about this method of breadmaking…it is a calm and relaxed way of producing something very special and well worth eating :) I am even more calm when making this now though, after that wonderful day of knowledge!
I heated up my large casserole for about 15 mins and carefully plopped the dough into the very hot casserole
It started growing as soon as it hit the heat so after slashing the top a few times, I popped the lid on and baked it, the smell was driving both Barry and me crazy, we needed to eat!
This is the loaf straight out of the oven, isn’t it beautiful?
I am so proud of this loaf!
Now, there is a problem with all this bread making, someone has to eat it! We are trying to lose a bit of weight in this house so rather than having a too hot slice of this dripping with butter, we had a small slice each with no butter or topping of any kind. Then Barry sliced the rest up and I put it in the freezer! Out of sight out of mind, oh yeah…right…I am dreaming of this wonderful loaf!
My trouble is, that I don’t want to lose or forget my new found skills, so I am aiming to make just one loaf a week, at the weekend. Well that’s the plan, I think I’ll have to start giving this bread to my neighbours lol…anybody want a bit of my new amazing starter to play with? I can still see Vanessa telling us that people might start avoiding us if we keep giving away our special potion, here’s comes that crazy lady that wants us to love and use her funny bags of squidgy mess! Haha…it’s only flour and water, get over it Marianne!!
Wonder what this week’s loaf will be…I’m rather thinking it might be the apple sourdough recipe from Dan Lepard
And then there’s Vanessa’s sourdough scones…..and those yummy chocolate and banana muffins that my Knit-n-Natter group enjoyed a while back!
Meanwhile I am still sewing my heart out to get enough stock together to take with me to Handmade at Haddenham in a week or so. You can see some of what I’ve been sewing in this Flickr Album, I will be taking all my dyed up fibre too, and all the bags that I’ve made, my spinning wheel will be coming with me too!…it promises to be a lovely day out, I’ll be there on the Saturday and the Sunday
Once that event is over, I intend to sort out my sewing room, it is a bombsite in there!!