Everyday Sourdough

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: Practical Recipes & Techniques for the Home Baker with Almost No Kneading
by Emilie Raffa

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I got this for my current sourdough obsession. I followed the sourdough recipe of the author in her blog and decided to try out her book as well. I leafed through it from front to back and liked the look of it and the bits I did read so far.
This looks like a good beginner‘s book with clear instructions, with accompanying photos of how to knead, shape, etc…

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It tickled my funny bone that she recommends Le Creuset as a dutch oven for baking… guess what I have sitting in my kitchen for roasts… score!

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I raised my sourdough starter for almost two weeks and at the end of last week finally dared and made the Everyday Sourdough Bread. It‘s the first bread recipe in this book, aka the beginner‘s loaf.

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And here it is, a little flat (I probably overproofed it), but with a crunchy crust and a mild, tangy flavour. Yay!

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I am pleased with this book and it’s hands-on, practical recipes and and step-by-step photographs. Recommended! I will continue to work my way through its recipes.

Beautiful book, but not very practical…

Sauerteig: Echtes Brot und mehr
by Sarah Owens,  Ngoc Minh Ngo (Illustrator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Good: 
Beautifully made book with pretty photographs. I like that it is sorted by yearly seasons.

The Not-so-Good:
Complicated recipes with many steps, not for beginners.
Many unusual ingredients.
Very time-intensive recipes.
A very complicated starter recipe.
Explanations are very wordy. With lots of text. I prefer clearer instructions.

And the Critical-No-Go for me:
All the recipes for making bread result in two loaves. I am single and have no freezer. What am I to do with two loaves?

So this book is pretty to look at, but mostly not usable for me. I will probably make some of the slightly simpler recipes in this at some point and then revisit my rating. Maybe I will even make one of the breads, giving one of the loaves away to friends as a present. But this will not become my go-to-book for bread making. 

Luckily I found a much easier starter recipe online and now ordered that author‘s sourdough baking book. Review of that one to come!

State of the Swamp Thing….

Ok, so I fed my starter for the first time yesterday afternoon. This morning it was not so pretty and started looking like the Swamp Thing again. In the recipe I follow it says that when that discoloured „hooch“ shows up, it is time for feeding. So I did it earlier than planned.

This is from yesterday after the feeding:

And this morning:

I also found something black and tiny, that I fished out. Maybe a fruit fly? Couldn‘t tell… I added the rubber band to my mason jar for security… 

@theclevercarrot #theclevercarrot

It hasn‘t soured yet…

Ok then, I am finally attempting to raise a sourdough starter.

Yes, yes, this is not a book review. Sometimes I bake…

This is the recipe I decided to try out:

Beginner Sourdough Starter Recipe


DAY 1: MAKE THE STARTER

I followed the instructions and the little guy is in the cold oven (5 p.m.), with the light switched on. I am dubious about that.

Anyway, I have to remember to switch off the light when I go to bed. Maybe I‘ll set the mason jar on top of my heating unit later….

Tomorrow afternoon I should see small bubbles? Fingers crossed!

Any suggestion how to name the starter? I chuckled at Rye Breadbury, Carrie Breadshaw and Clint Yeastwood. I am trying to come up with something equally funny in German, but so far nothing….

@theclevercarrot #theclevercarrot

Reading makes hungry…

I give you an excursion into bread baking!

Spelt-carrot bread

Ingredients:

  • 300 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 50 g golden linseeds
  • 50 g five-grain breakfast cereal
  • 25 g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cloudy apple vinegar 
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp bread spice (nutmeg, cumin, coriander)
  • 380 ml water
  • 1 pkt dry yeast
  • 150 g carrots (two medium sized carrots)
  • + a little butter or vegetable oil to grease your baking mold
  • + Bread baking mold
  • + Shallow pan

Instructions:

Start your oven on the lowest temperature.

Add linseeds, cereal and seeds to a bowl. Pour over most of your water (boiling) and let the mix stand for a little. I added my honey and vinegar to that as well.

Dissolve your yeast in the rest of your water, about half a cup,  lukewarm—not hotter! 

Add flour, salt and bread spice to a mixing bowl. Add your seeds mix and yeasty water, mix well. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and put on a grate in your warm oven.

Peel and grate your carrots. Clean up your mess. That should give your dough a chance to rise a little. Take it out of the oven and mix in the grated carrots—gently! Set overn to 180 C.

Put the dough in your greased baking mold, smooth it out a little on top with a wet spatula and sprinkle some linseeds on top.

Ready for the oven…

Place mold in the oven. Place the saucepan with a liter of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. It keeps your bread moist and helps to get a nice crust.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and if needed, bake a little longer. The bread should sound hollow when you knock on it. Let bread rest for five minutes.

Out of the oven…

Take it out of the mold and let it cool. Voila:

Ready to eat!