Very lazy sourdough loaf

sourdoughIt’s been a while since I made sourdough, probably about 4 years or so, but the lack of yeast on the shelves means it’s back on my lockdown radar.

Two weeks ago my friend Andy got in touch asking me if I had a sourdough starter that he could have. I didn’t, but said I would happily make some as my old cottage seems to make a pretty good starter.

There are LOADS of various sourdough starter recipes online, some really complicated ones, some that add all kinds of things from yoghurt to leaves, but I have no interest in complicated recipes so I do my own lazy version, and you know what? It works a treat.

All I do is put some plain flour into a Tupperware dish then add enough cold water to make it into a thick paste, like a tin of matt paint. I don’t weigh or measure the water or flour, I really can’t be arsed with dicking about weighing and measuring. Each day I add a bit more flour, maybe about 3 tablespoons and a bit more water to it and give it a good stir to get back to a thick consistency that is still liquid and drops off a spoon easily. When it separates I just stir it all together. If the Tupperware gets too full, I discard some and then add the flour and water. I leave the Tupperware, uncovered in the  kitchen out of the way at this point.

I ran out of plain flour after about 10 days so added some organic stoneground rye flour that I had knocking about and it really liked this, it bubbled better and started to get really sour smelling, happy starter.

It took two weeks to get to the point I wanted it. Starters take time, don’t rush it, it will get there. I knew it was ready as about half an hour after feeding it would have risen up the Tupperware and be bubbly and was smelling quite sour.

Then it came to making the loaf, and you know what? I did a really lazy loaf too.

Easy, lazy sourdough loaf:

sourdough top

Ingredients:

  • 270g strong white bread flour
  • 200g sourdough starter (unfed that day, see above for how I make it)
  • 130ml water, I use cold water straight from the tap, you may need a little more depending on how runny your starter is.
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method:

  1. Put everything into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix for about 10 minutes until supple and stretchy.
  2. Put the dough in an oiled bowl (I use the mixer bowl) and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for 3 hours.
  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball by tucking the edges into the centre.  Put into a floured proving basket seal side up. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 3 hours. You can pop it in the fridge and leave overnight also at this stage.
  4. Get your big dutch oven pot out (I use a cheap but very heavy enamelled Le Creuset wannabe picked up from Sainsburys years ago) and some baking parchment. Cut a round of parchment to fit the base with some excess – I just trace the shape of the lid and cut it out.
  5. Preheat oven to 230C. Put the big Le Creuset style casserole pot in with its lid on for about 20 minutes to get really hot.
  6. When the pot is hot, gently upend the dough onto the parchment (I put the parchment over the bowl then flip and tip. Score the dough with a razor blade so the loaf can expand.
  7. Take the pot out of the oven, pop in your dough on the parchment (by holding the edges of the parchment) pop the lid on and get it into the oven quickly.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes then remove the lid and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove your bread from the pot and leave to cool completely (well if you have any self restraint, but it helps the crust set)
  10. Enjoy your sourdough loaf.

 

 

 

Wild garlic pesto ciabatta rolls

Crunchy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside

Crunchy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside

Last night I was in Old Dalby giving a talk and cookery demo to the lovely ladies of their WI about incorporating wild food into the kitchen. Regular readers of this blog and those who follow my Twitter account will know I am a huge fan of raiding the wild larder for my recipes so it was wonderful to see so many people in the village hall who were keen to know more about it.

I brought along plenty of things to try and will be popping the recipes up on here over with the tag “Old Dalby WI” if anyone wants to find them all.

First up are these little wild garlic pesto ciabatta rolls.  I always make a HUGE batch of wild garlic pesto when the season hits, I put plenty into jars and store in the fridge and the rest I portion off into ziplock bags and freeze flat allowing me to break some off throughout the year and stir into pasta, make more bread, serve with lamb, make hummus, basically I use it in most things!

wild garlic pesto

Late night and with little light for the phone to take the pic but you get the idea 🙂

Wild garlic pesto:

  • several handfuls wild garlic, washed and roughly chopped
  • enough olive oil or rapeseed oil to make a good paste
  • 100g chopped toasted hazelnuts (Morrisons sell these in 100g packets)
  • a couple of handfuls of freshly grated grand padano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the leaves in a food processor and blitz, they will stick to the sides so start to slowly pour in the oil as the blades spin, you can add more leaves as they break down. Keep adding leaves and oil until you get a consistency you are happy with.
  2. Add the nuts and cheese and season, blitz some more and add a little more oil to loosen.
  3. Decant intio sterilised jars and cover with a layer of oil.

Wild garlic pesto ciabatta bread rolls: (makes 12)

wild garlic pesto ciabatta bread rolls

 

  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 350ml warm water
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for brushing)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a few tablespoons of wild garlic pesto
  • blue poppy seeds (optional)

1: Put your flour and salt into a mixer, give it a stir and make a well in the centre.

2: Add the honey to the warm water and stir to dissolve, add the yeast and stir then the oil. Pour into the flour.

3: Have the bread hook attached to your mixer, start the machine on slow speed then increase to medium high, mix for a good 10-15 minutes or until the dough has formed a soft, smooth ball (my mixer is a bit rubbish so it took a while but just keep an eye on it).

4: Put the dough in an oiled bowl (the mixer bowl is fine) and cover, allow to rise until doubled in size.

wild garlic pesto bread4: Tip the dough onto a floured surface and divide into  two more manageable halves.

5: Roll and stretch the dough into as close to a rectangle as possible then cover with a layer of pesto.

wild garlic pesto bread-1-2

6: Roll lengthways from bottom to top, stretching as you go to make a swiss roll kinda thing then slice into rounds and place these into an oiled muffin tin.

wild garlic pesto bread-1-3

7: Cover and allow to rise for an hour or so in a warm place.

8:  Sprinkle with some blue poppy seeds and bake in an oven heated to 180C for around 25-30 minutes, during the last 5 minutes brush the tops with more olive oil. The rolls are ready when you tap on the base of one and it sounds hollow.

SOOOOOO good

SOOOOOO good

 

100% spelt flour loaf (with 2 minutes of kneading)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMy cottage is old, with thick walls and high ceilings, in the summer its wonderfully cool to the extent that during this August’s heatwave I found myself leaving the cottage dressed for a crisp spring day and would have to instantly turn on my heels once hit with the wall of baking heat and remove a few layers before attempting to start the day again. Where this is glorious during the longer days of the year it’s also pretty damn Baltic come the winter.

I have an open fire in the living room and a wood burner in the dining room, on cold days like today when I’m working from home I’ll get the fire lit as soon as I’m up and about and work from my laptop next to the hearth. Today was one of those days and not one to waste a “day fire” I decided to bake some bread and use the heat to help the dough rise.

I’ve never made a spelt loaf before but had a bag of flour kicking about in the pantry. I had to pop to Tescos to pick up cat food so went and spoke nicely to the bakers who kindly gave me a big block of fresh yeast “we only measure by handfuls, one or two?”.

I’m now a convert to spelt, the loaf is rich and nutty which works so well with the sweet aromatic honey plus, its almost got the texture of soda bread which I adore. Yep from now on this is the loaf for me. It’s not a sandwich loaf though this one, it’s definitely one for spreading with butter and jam or marmite with a nice cup of tea, preferably whilst still warm from the oven.

Spelt loaf recipe:

  • 500g wholemeal spelt flour (I just guessed half of the bag of flour)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 400ml warm water
  • a chunk of fresh yeast the size of two match boxes (I don’t have scales)
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  1. Put flour into a big bowl, put salt on one side, make a well in the centre.
  2. Crumble the yeast into the water and stir until dissolved. Pour in the well, add the honey and oil and mix with a spoon.
  3. I keep the dough in the big ceramic bowl and just knead with one hand for 2 minutes then lift the dough out, oil the bowl, put the dough back in, cover with cling and sit it in front of the fire for half an hour.
  4. After 30 mins I knock it back, dust it with more flour then put it into a lightly oiled loaf tin. Cover with a layer of cling then back in front of the fire for another 30 mins.
  5. Preheat oven to 200C. Sprinkle more flour over the top of the dough then put in the oven for about 50 minutes or until cooked through out.

I scoffed about half the loaf instantly with salted butter and some homemade quince and vanilla jam. Laziest loaf ever.

Homemade quince and vanilla jam

Homemade quince and vanilla jam

Pauls Bakery

 Paul’s Soyfoods are entirely organic and in addition to delivering fresh fruit and veg around the country also bake 6 days a week.  I spent an hour one morning watching the two bakers at work, it was fast, unrelenting and beautifully coordinated work and I was really struck by how tactile the whole process was. There are quite a few more photos to come over the next couple of days as I get around to it and I will be heading back to photograph them making their own tofu and tempeh soon.