Tuesday, October 08, 2013

I'm keeping up with the breadmaking

Since going on the brilliant sourdough bread making course, I've been quite hooked on making bread from scratch.
I made a sour dough boule about a week after the class and it was a total disaster. I just couldn't get it to raise much and it was very dense - had a good crust on it, but that's about the only good thing I could say about it!
( Interestingly enough Lulah must have known we weren't that taken with it as she helped herself to it off the kitchen worktop! Lloyd and I were horrified and relieved in equal measures) 

I asked around about ways to prove dough when the weather is colder and you have no central heating, and a friend told me about putting it in the oven ( not on)  with a baking tray filled with boiling water. It gets very steamy and this would help the dough prove. 

So, the following week I brought my sourdough starter back to life again ( she's called 'Baby Bi@ch' and there is a story behind the name, honest!!) I followed the recipe we were given by Keith, to the letter, but proved it in the oven with the steamy method. It worked like a charm!!

Here's my first successful sour dough boule made at home.

It was quite delicious and we kept it away from Lulah, just in case she got any ideas!

Today I tried my hand at focaccia.  I didn't want to use my sourdough starter, because I wanted to make a non sour-y one! But I only had a recipe for the sourdough one we made on the course. So I hunted down another one and sort of adapted it!

• 1 ½ cups warm water
• 2 tsp active dry yeast
• 1 tbs malt
• 4 cups plain flour
• 1 tsp salt
• Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
• 1 cup olive oil

1. Place malt and yeast in a bowl and add warm water, stir and set in warm place for 10 minutes until mixturer is frothy on top and gives a yeasty fragrance. ( boy did mine froth up)

2. In an electric mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt, then add ½ a cup of oil (save the other half for later) and the yeast mixture. Knead on slow to combine, then medium for 5 minutes. Add more flour if it is really sticky. ( obviously if you are a good kneader you could do all this by hand. I am not, so my Kitchen Aid gets a work out rather than me.)

3. Empty on to a flour surface and knead by hand for one minute. ( or let your mixer do the work!)  Coat bowl with oil and return dough to bowl. Cover with a wet tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour.

4. Pour the rest of the olive oil into a baking tray and roll around to coat (it may look like a lot but this is what makes it special!). Empty the dough into the pan and use your hands to spread out. Then flip it over, stretch it to the corners and using your fingers poke holes into the dough all over the surface.

5. Cover again and set in a warm place for 1 hour to rise a second time. Heat the oven to 200C. When ready to bake sprinkle with the sea salt. Bake for 25 minutes. Or until golden brown. You can also add rosemary to the top.

6. Take from the oven. Let it cool, then rip and eat! So good!

I was very pleased with it. The olive oil in the baking tray gives it a nice flavour, too.


  1. I love making bread and every time it's comes out different. Sometimes there are good loaves others are disasters. I'm hoping for a kitchen aid to help with the kneading as it's this bit I find difficult.

    1. when we were on the course, everyone else got the hang of the kneading except me - the tutor definitely had a wee giggle at how rubbish I was at it! I fond the kitchen aid absolutely brilliant :)

  2. Both look good to me! You don't have to have a lot of warmth to prove but it just takes longer. I usually mix my bread first thing (I don't knead it, just mix, leave 10 minutes and then bring it all together in the bowl) leave it to prove on the worktop all day, put it into proving baskets and leave in the fridge overnight and then bake next morning. Sourdough seems pretty forgiving.

    1. i left it all night for the second prove but it as still meh! My starter is coming back to life today - so more sourdough later :)

  3. Yum!!!! There is no excuse for me not to give this a go seen as you provided the recipe.

    1. there is not! you're right! go for it!

  4. Matt baked focaccia for dinner last night. Oh, there is little simple pleasures I enjoy more than a slice of warm, fresh bread. Good on you for becoming such an accomplished bread baker! I still need to try my hand a sourdough. That is something I've never made.


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Laura x