Sunday, 20 January 2013

Project (semi) Sourdough: First loaf of 2013

I decided that I wanted to bake my first loaf of 2013 this weekend. With the cold snap that is currently going on in the UK I wasn't sure how a pure sourdough loaf would stand up and I didn't want to be tied to the kitchen if proving times were taking longer than expected, so decided on a semi-sourdough loaf instead.

I also had in the mind to try and re-create the excellent pain de campagne that I bought from D├ęgustation in Brockley a few weeks ago. Searching for "semi-sourdough pain de campagne" didn't yield many results, but I did find this recipe on the Wild Yeast site. It looked like just what I wanted so I decided to give it a go.

The results turned out pretty well. I tasted the bread alongside a slice of the pain de campagne I had in the freezer. My loaf isn't as good, but not far off which is pleasing.

My bread had some reasonable oven spring and a nice structure to the bread. I would have preferred a thicker crust (I think I could bake it for a bit longer next time) and there is still a faint taste of the dried yeast in the bread. Must try a full sourdough next time.

Over the past week I've been thinking of buying a new oven and baking this loaf has firmed my resolve to get one. The oven took an hour to get up to temperature, I really don't trust the temperature and had to bake the loaf for twenty minutes longer than prescribed and when I through some water on the base of the oven it dripped back out rather than turning to steam. Clearly something not right with the temperature.

The only question is could I install a new oven without electrocuting myself or blowing up the oven?


  1. I'm sure you could do it Richard. A new oven would sound very enticing if your current one takes an hour to cranking. Eeek, thats a long time.

    Gorgeous looking snow you are having at the moment.

  2. So good to see you're keeping up the bread making! When I eventually get to your side of the world again we'll have to pop in for a sample ;)

  3. I have been given a sourdough starter,the the lady said that it was at the sponge stage. I have had to keep it in the fridge since March 27th as I have been so busy. I haven't fed it. I have bought it up to room temperature and it is bubbling really nicely. How do I use it from now to make a loaf.

    1. Karen, welcome to the world of sourdough! It's a very rewarding hobby once you get the hang of it.

      If you have your starter out of the fridge it needs to be fed. I fed my started with equal parts of flour and water (by weight). The theory is that your starter should double after every feed. If you have 50g of starter already added 25g of flour and 25g of water when you feed it. This will double the total weight to 100g. Every few days discard some of your starter so it isn't relentlessly doubling and using up all your flour!

      If you keep your starter in the fridge you don't need to feed it. I regularly keep mine in the fridge for a couple of weeks without feeding it and it is ok.

      If you want to bake I like the sponge method:

      I'd recommend buying a bread book as you'll find it quite helpful on tips and tricks. The River Cottage Bread Handbook is a great starter book. It focuses mainly on yeasted breads, but there are some sourdough recipes too.

      Good luck!