Sunday, 14 October 2012
Having been back in the UK for four months I was getting the urge to bake again.
I had a few problems getting a starter going in Sydney and was hoping to avoid the same angst second time around. As most bakers are regularly binning some of their starter as it grows and divides I made an appeal on the local forum for anyone who had some to give away. Sadly no one came forward so I set about creating my own.
I bought some rye flour (which is supposed to be easier) and loosely followed Byrdie's ridiculously easy post on how to create a starter. After three days it had taken off! (Top photo)
With my starter less than a week old I was invited to Sunday lunch at a friend's house and decided to take a long a loaf of bread.
I followed my favourite sponge method. A starter is generally a bit weak to bake with after just four days and my sponge wasn't looking as vibrant as it usually does so I decided to add some dried yeast, making what the Bourke St Bakery calls a semi-sourdough.
My oven here in London isn't the best. It has a very top down heat which has a tendency to burn things so I decided to go for the Le Crueset method of baking.
My first loaf in the UK was pretty good. The oven spring was great (which I think baking inside the pan helps with), it had a great shape and importantly my friends all seemed to love the bread.
The sour flavour wasn't as developed as I would have liked, but that's to be expected while my starter is still young. Baking the bread inside the Le Crueset meant that the crust brown as much as I would have liked. I find that the majority of flavour in a sourdough is in the crust so I don't think the Le Crueset will be my favoured method once I have a better oven.
For my second loaf this weekend I was rushed for time and had half a packet of dried yeast left to use so decided to go for another semi-sourdough. The Bourke St Bakery book suggests not slashing the top of a semi-sourdough loaf prior to baking. As you can see the crust half erupted so I'll be ignoring that advice next time round!
It's good to be baking again.