Hello hope everyone has been enjoying some Springlike sunshine.
Lets talk Loaves. I love bread… I mean totally love bread.
This recipe is for a sourdough starter and bread using ‘wild yeast’.
Wild yeast is yeast that is naturally floating all around us. When you mix your start and leave to ferment the natural yeast will make its way into your starter and react with the flour and water. As the yeast population grows froth is created. This froth is the carbon dioxide being released form the yeast. This makes a lovely bubbly, active starter.

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Recently I have been trying to cut down or change what bread I eat. I have always chosen granary or wholemeal and generally have been very tolerable of such foods. Theres not many foods I can’t/don’t eat in fact.
During my time in Australia I discovered sourdough. This slightly acidic, malty, nutty delicious taste sensation.
From then on I have loved sourdough but had not tried to make it myself.
From researching I have discovered sourdough is actually a very interesting little creature.
Sourdough is more easily digestible and even people when wheat intolerances can generally enjoy sourdough. It is also more nutritious than regular bread, are heres why…
Sourdough starts off with a starter- this start is made by using naturally occurring yeasts (wild yeast) and lactobacillus. The mild sour taste is from the lactobacillus or lactic acid.
It is this lactic acid that helps the vitamins and nutrients on flour be more easily absorbs into the body.
It has a low GI, which means you stay fuller for longer- great it you’re a greedy mare like me!
The longer fermentation process means the gluten in the flour is broken down more before you eat it. This in turn means the gluten doesn’t need to be broken down so much in the body, which is why gluten intolerant people and not find it easier to digest.
It is full of ‘live’ bacteria which your gut loves. Happy gut, happy body!

As well as it being great for you, its also a joy to make. After 5 days you have a ‘living’ breathing, frothing starter. some starters have been going for years and are a closely guarded secret. I must admit, I have grown very fond of my little starter… yes she has a name… Sally of course.
So the process is long, but not arduous at all. It is very simple and satisfying, and can quickly become a lovely little weekly routine.
Sourdough Starter Day 1

You will need;
A clean container with a loose lid, or just leave the lid off.
80g flour- all purpose/bread flour works best, but i love the nuttiness of wholemeal. go with what you love. Although white is pretty much failsafe
80g water- filtered is suggested, I used plain old tap, but I would love to use fresh Malvern water from the spring.
A proving basket (optional, but makes a beautiful pattern on the loaf)

Thats it!
Mix it vigorously, then leave in a constantly temperatured place ( I just left it on my kitchen worktop)

Day 2. Feed with the same 80g flour and water and mix
Day 3. Feed with the same 80g flour and water and mix, by now you should see plenty of bubbles and the mix should be active.
Day 4. feed again and mix vigorously.
Day 5. Your starter should be ready- a lovely thick batter like consistency with bubbles, a sour taste and smell, but it should not be rancid.
On the evening of Day 5. I made my dough.

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Recipe- For a nice big loaf to see you through a few days depending on the mouths to feed.
500g flour- I used strong bread flour
400g of starter- never use it all, keep some back for the next starter.
250mls of water
5g salt
15g sugar- I will try honey next time….

Mix the flour, water, starter together in a bowl, then add salt and sugar and mix.
Knead dough either in mixer (about 8 minutes) or by hand (10-15 minutes) until dough is springy.

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BeautyYeast-3857TIP- sometimes you need to be slightly intuitive with dough, if it looks to wet, maybe add a few sprinkles of extra flour while kneading, and the same, too dry add a splash more water.
I added about 20g more flour to mine.
Turn out onto a floured surface and then pop in a lightly oiled bowl to prove.
Leave for 2-3 hours.
Knock back- basically knock the first load of air from the dough, reshape and place in your proving basket ( these are readily available from online shops for about £7-£15. If you don’t have one, no problem, just prove again the the same bowl for another 2-3 hours if baking straight away, or as I did leave in the fridge overnight to prove.
In the morning take bread out of fridge and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, place oven onto 200 degrees and place a baking tray in the bottom, and a tray in to bake bread on.
When at temperature, turn out bread onto the hot tray and place back in oven. Just before closing splash 500mls or so on cold water into the bottom tray and close oven door quickly.
We do this to create steam in the oven. The bread will rise and expand rapidly in the first few minutes of baking and the steam stops a crust forming in these minutes so the dough can expand as much as its wants to.
After expansion the steam sits on the surface as dissolves surface sugars, after evaporation the sugars caramelize created a beautiful tasty crust! yum!

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Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

Cool and then enjoy!
Remember after you have used this starter, feed Sally (base starter) again with 80g flour and 80g water.
Either feed everyday if using again next week, or feed and place in fridge and feed once a week until ready to use again.

There are many different ways people say to feed and keep your starter. A friend of mine uses grated apple to start, what a great idea. So have an experiment and you may just create something amazing.
This for me is the simplest and worked brilliantly. I am going to experiment with different flour starters, but this for me was a great first start.
This is true food alchemy and it was delicious!

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Any questions or problems with your starters, please comment and I will try and help rescue and sourdough situations.

Bake Love

Janine xxx