A Sourdough Adventure

sourdough starter

This is my starter, it is alive and bubbles away quietly waiting for me to use it or feed it

sourdough starter

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 🙂

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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!

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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

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and this is the dining area of the school, oh that lunch was tasty!

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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

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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!

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I heated up my large casserole for about 15 mins and carefully plopped the dough into the very hot casserole

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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!

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This is the loaf straight out of the oven, isn’t it beautiful?

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I am so proud of this loaf!

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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!!


About picperfic

I dye luxurious fibre blends for spinners and felters, and sew beautiful bags, project bags and needle/hook organisers to a very high standard, using designer fabrics and then I photograph them!
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6 Responses to A Sourdough Adventure

  1. mavis32 says:

    Hey Marianne that bread looks yummy but I’m only on Ryvita . I’ve lost 9lbs .I will insist on losing weight. Bread for one meal once a week xx

    • lifebeginsat50 says:

      Oh well done Mum, it’s so hard to lose weight when you love to cook, but I’m determined too! xx

      On 23 June 2015 at 08:49, Picperfic's Blog wrote:


  2. andsewtoknit says:

    Your bread looks fantastic, I would love a bit of your starter if only you lived round the corner 😉

  3. josiekitten says:

    That loaf looks absolutely delicious. I’d happily have some starter if we met up! I think I would have found it hard not to dive in with a knife and butter and polish the whole lot off in a none too ladylike manner!

  4. Anne Bryson says:

    It sounds like I am currently where you were before your Sourdough school! I started with the Paul Holloway sourdough started and didn’t have much luck with that, then bought a copy of the Eric Kayser Larousse book and have been using the liquid sourdough starter and recipes from there with ‘some’ or maybe I should say ‘limited’ success. My starter never looks quite as active as yours does though and I’m wondering if it is down to the temperature. The other issue for me is that the dough often seems very moist and I’m wondering if I’m adding too much liquid.
    It sounds to me that I need to enrol on one of Vanessa’s courses too!

    • picperfic says:

      I can hear your frustration….you will understand where you are going wrong once you do one of Vanessa’s courses. I haven’t looked back at all! One thing I learnt was to use organic and stoneground flour, both white and wholemeal

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