It is hard to believe that I have been making my own bread now for two years. That is especially true when it comes to sourdough.
It does come with a sense of pride that over that time I have baked all our bread except for one loaf I got my husband recently, some bread rolls, and a few hot cross buns.
Has it been easy?
The answer to that would have to be no. There have been a lot of disasters, but they are very rare these days.
I can remember when I made the first one I was so impressed with how it came out and I thought I’ve got this.
Well, I didn’t.
A friend of mine said that it will be weeks before it starts working all the time. I thought well there is one that worked. She was, of course, right. While I did have that initial success, it was followed by many, many, and I did say many already, very flat loaves of sourdough bread.
It was quite the journey.
I’ve learned a lot and I’m happy to say that my days of opening the lid to my dutch oven and finding a loaf flatter than when it went in are pretty much over. It does still happen, but very rarely these days. I did have one a week ago, but I had the temperature too high in my proofing box and didn’t account for it.
It was interesting because when I was shaping it after the bulk rise I knew it wasn’t going to work.
I can tell now. For me, it is about the dough and how it feels. If it sticks too much to my hands or fingers then I know I have a dud.
The proofing box
The Brod & Taylor proofing box has to be one of the best things I got for making my bread. It means I can control the temperature while getting my starter ready, and again when I want to proof my bread.
It has almost made it possible for me to do it by timing and I know pretty much how long it will take to proof.
When I first got it I was getting a lot of dodgy loaves. Nothing was working properly. It took me a couple of months to realise I was over proofing everything, which was why nothing was working.
I have it all sussed now and I know what I’m doing. It is working well for me. It was a good purchase.
I bake a loaf every 2 to 3 days now. They nearly always work out fine. The flat loaf I had the other day is a very rare occurrence these days.
Here are some photos from my last loaf.
It is okay to me.
What I’ve learned
There is more than one way to make it. Everywhere you read someone is making it one way or a different way. I think it is one of those things that you have to find your own path with it. Work out what works for you.
Sourdough bread has been made for thousands of years, so you don’t need to use filtered water or bottled either for your starter. I use boiled water, but that is all. My starter, which I started from scratch has been around for 2 years now and that is all I’ve ever used.
You don’t have to be really careful with your starter. I’ve had days where I have forgotten to feed it and it hasn’t been the end of the world.
Bread in my house
It is a long process, but you can sort of get into a routine with it.
I’ve used my sourdough starter for lots of things. I mainly bake bread, but I also do pizza dough, bagels, and fruit bread. I have used it for flat bread as well.
I do use store bought yeast for some things, but I love my sourdough and would like to keep using it for a long time. I love that I can say I bake nearly our bread. It might not mean a lot to others, but it is something I’ve rather proud of.
I mean who doesn’t love homemade bread?