When I was doing the posts on the sourdough starter I said I would follow up with some on the bread, so our daily bread is all about sourdough.
When I got back into baking people I knew said, are you going to get into bread? I said no way, now look at me. I love baking bread. There is something quite rewarding about it, but I’m not totally sure why.
Making bread in the past
It could be that I have tried making bread many times in the past and when I just did it the way others did it never worked. I don’t know what I was doing wrong, but the best bread for me to make were the ones where I didn’t need to do a lot of kneading. That is hard work and I always loved the ones that were no-knead, they are the best.
I did have a bread machine once, but I didn’t like the way the loaves were cooked. They always came out at such odd shapes. In the end, I gave my machine away.
There is a place here called Simply No Knead and probably 10 or 15 years ago I did go there to learn how to bake bread and did do a lot. Again, I didn’t think the flavour was great. I do love bread with a lot of flavour. In the end, I gave up making that as well.
Getting into sourdough
Why sourdough? No idea really. I can’t think of a good reason as to why I started doing it. It was something I started at the beginning of the pandemic, so it may have had something to do with that. A challenge can be a good thing when you are in lockdown.
In the previous posts, I spoke about how hard it was to get flour. Thank goodness that isn’t so much the case now. Though with parts of Melbourne are under lockdown again, and panic buying is happening all over again. So who knows, maybe flour will become hard to buy again.
Love sourdough bread
Without a doubt, it is one of my favourite types of bread. It is expensive to buy, but always a joy to eat. How hard could it be to make?
Making the bread
As it turns out it is harder than you think.
There are so many different things that can go wrong to give you a bad load. Thankfully you can still eat each one, they just don’t always look good.
I am not going to go through all the different reasons why it can go wrong in this post but will do another one on that in the future.
YouTube was fantastic for getting information and ready up on stuff. Then my friend Tracey was really valuable and helped to answer a lot of questions for me. Perhaps the best advice she gave me was that it could take me 10 weeks to get a great loaf.
It didn’t take quite that long, but I did make the decision to bake a loaf near every day to narrow that down. There were a lot of flops. Many flat loaves, but these days I am doing a lot better and feel reasonably secure that when I go to bake one it will be okay.
A few months on
It has been quite an experience. I certainly know a lot more about sourdough now than I ever thought I would. It has been so challenging but in a really good way. There really is nothing like the smell of fresh bread. The biggest shame is how long you have to wait before you carve into it. Fighting for the end pieces.
My first loaf turned out really well. It rose nicely and was a great first effort. The next few, not so much. It seems it is all in the recipe and how much water you use. How hydrated it is will determine a lot. I had a lot of flat loaves. It didn’t take me 10 weeks to start getting good bread, which I’m grateful for. Perhaps it was about 4 to 6 weeks.
It is tempting to bake every day, but we can’t eat that much bread. I do have friends who like it, and they get loaves from time to time. My neighbours have been the recipients a lot. They love sourdough too, so they get a loaf every now and then.
Now, I just bake almost daily. It does take planning, but always good.
I will do some future post for you on what I have learned.
One of my favourite sourdough sites is The Clever Carrot. I love her recipes and her book.