Real Bread Festival 2012

Richard Bertinet answering bakers' dilemmas at the Real Bread Festival 2012

If you’re around the south bank in London this weekend, drop in to the Real Bread Festival, running 5-7th October 2012 along the riverside outside the Royal Festival Hall (nearest tube: Waterloo).

There’s a handful of bread stands, along with the Real Bread Theatre with demos and talks through the day, and a few stalls selling cakes, cheese, jams, ciders and some gorgeous oak chopping/display boards (yes, I bought one).

Admission: Free.

Some pictures from today:

Bread Notes: What We’re Reading – May

First up, it’s Real Bread Maker Week! Head over to the Real Bread Campaign website to read more about ‘the only national week exclusively dedicated to celebrating artificial-additive-free loaves and the local bakers who make ’em’. If you’re a campaign member, you can also pick up discount codes for flours from Marriage’s and Shipton Mill.

In other news:

  • From breadwinners to breadmakers: Last month’s Observer Food Monthly featured the E5 Bakehouse over in East London, posing the question: “What drives a bunch of thirtysomething men bristling with PhDs to start a bakery in east London?”
  • Dough Nuts: The Independent reports on a ‘rising trend’: men who bake their own bread. With an emphasis on the ‘men’ part. Really?

Lastly, during some recent sourdough pizza research, I happened across this Youtube video of Italy’s national team of ‘acrobati pizzaioli’, who take pizza spinning to whole new levels. Who ever said don’t play with your food?

Recipe: My Everyday Sourdough

This is my go-to sourdough recipe. The one sourdough loaf I make at least once a week without fail. It’s predominantly a white wheat sourdough, with some wholewheat flour to add flavour and texture.

Continue reading Recipe: My Everyday Sourdough »

Day 6 – Baking With Your Sourdough Starter

<< For a list of ingredients, equipment and FAQ, see Day 0 – How to Make a Sourdough Starter.

<< Previously: Day 5 – Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

Day 6 – Baking Day

So, you refreshed your starter overnight. If it’s ready to bake with, it should look nice and active, and smell pleasantly yeasty.

‘Active’ might look like this:

Refreshed Starter - Good

‘Active’ can also look like this:

Refreshed Starter - Good

If your starter wasn’t quite ready when you refreshed it, it may still be acting sluggish:

Refreshed Starter - Less Active

In this case, give it a stir and a feed (see Day 2 instructions). Refresh it again that evening (see Day 5 instructions) and try baking tomorrow. Again, patience is key.

If your refreshed starter is live and kicking, then fantastic — you’re now the proud owner of your own sourdough culture! Time to now use your starter in recipes that call for a ‘refreshed sourdough starter’.

Don’t forget to keep back some of your sourdough starter before using it in a recipe. When not using it, keep your starter in a tupperware in the fridge, and refresh it at least once a week. Good luck on the sourdough journey!

Looking for a sourdough recipe? Why not try out My Everyday Sourdough Recipe, which uses a white wheat starter.

These posts are part of a Sourdough Tweet-Along taking place from Sunday 22nd April (a.k.a. Day 1) until… well, until your starter is good and ready! Follow along at @BakerAndLoaf on Twitter, or follow the hashtag #SourdoughTweetAlong

Day 5 – Refreshing Your Sourdough Starter

<< For a list of ingredients, equipment and FAQ, see Day 0 – How to Make a Sourdough Starter.

<< Previously: Day 4 – Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

Day 5 – Morning

It’s the big question day: Is my sourdough starter ready to be ‘refreshed’?

If it looks like this picture, then the answer is ‘Yes, finally, yes!’ Frothy, extra-bubbly, airy, all these are good signs.

Day 5 - You're Ready

If your starter was very active yesterday, but has now developed a thin liquid on the surface, this is fine too.

Day 5 - Not a Problem

So now’s the time to be really honest with yourself. Does you starter look like either of the pictures above?

Option A: Yes It Does

In that case, congratulations, you’re ready to refresh your starter. Here’s how to do it:

In a clean medium-sized bowl, weigh out 25g of your active sourdough starter. (Stir in the liquid before hand if any has developed.) Add 90g tepid-to-warm water, and stir well until there are no lumps of starter. Add 70g of strong white flour, and stir until well mixed.

Cover the bowl, and leave in a warm place (around 20°C / 68°F) for 12-24 hours (i.e. until the next morning).

[Variations: If using whole wheat flour, follow instructions above using 90g water and 60g flour. If using rye flour, follow instructions above using 100g water and 50g flour.]

Option B: No, It Doesn’t, Argh What Do I Do Now?

Let’s do a sourdough health check. Does it look completely dead? No bubbles and yeasty smells at all? If so, it’s time to try using a different brand of flour, and a warmer room. But if you’ve been following the instructions, this scenario should be very unlikely.

So does it have some bubbles? If so, great, there’s life in there. Now it’s time to nurture it further.

In a clean bowl, weigh out 50g of your sluggish-yet-slightly-active sourdough starter. Now feed it, following the instructions from Day 2, until it reaches an active state (see pictures above). Then (however many days later) move on to the instructions in Option A above.

Tip #1: Make sure you’re leaving your starter somewhere warm (around 20°C / 68°F) while it grows. You know those people who always complain they’re cold? Your sourdough starter is just like them. Crank up the heating, or move your starter to an airing cupboard.

Tip #2: Similarly, make sure you’re using tepid-to-warm water – i.e. around skin temperature. Too cold, the yeasts will be slow. Too hot, and you’ll kill off the yeasts.

Tip #3: Stir well when you mix in the water and new flour. It’s all food to your starter; make sure it’s distributed well.

Next up: Day 6 – Baking with your Sourdough Starter  [Link goes live on Fri 27 April.]

These posts are part of a Sourdough Tweet-Along taking place from Sunday 22nd April (a.k.a. Day 1) until… well, until your starter is good and ready! Follow along at @BakerAndLoaf on Twitter, or follow the hashtag #SourdoughTweetAlong

Day 4 – Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

<< For a list of ingredients, equipment and FAQ, see Day 0 – How to Make a Sourdough Starter.

<< Previously: Day 3 – Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

Day 4 – Morning

By Day 4, a mildly bubbly starter should have gained more bubbles, and might look like this:

Day 4 - More Bubbles

If your starter was particular active yesterday, it may have developed a pale liquid on the surface (see photo below). Don’t worry, just stir this back in and carry on.

Day 4 - Don't Panic, Just Stir Back In

To feed: Add 35g tepid-to-warm water to your starter, and stir well. Then add 25g strong white flour, and stir well again.

Cover the bowl, and leave in a warm place (around 20°C / 68°F).

Day 4 – Evening

Give your starter a bit of a stir. Cover again.

Variations

If using whole wheat flour, use 30g flour to 45g water.

If using rye flour, use 25g flour to 50g water.

See the Day 0 FAQ for questions on flour types.

 

Next up: Day 5 – Refreshing your Sourdough Starter. [Link goes live on Thu 26 April.]

These posts are part of a Sourdough Tweet-Along taking place from Sunday 22nd April (a.k.a. Day 1) until… well, until your starter is good and ready! Follow along at @BakerAndLoaf on Twitter, or follow the hashtag #SourdoughTweetAlong

Day 3 – Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

<< For a list of ingredients, equipment and FAQ, see Day 0 – How to Make a Sourdough Starter.

<< Previously: Day 2 – Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

Day 3 – Morning

By Day 3, your starter should have developed more air bubbles, and might look something like this:

Day 3 - Less Active

If you’re lucky, your starter could be becoming rather active, and might look like this instead:

Day 3 - More Active

To feed: Add 35g tepid-to-warm water to your starter, and stir well. Then add 25g strong white flour, and stir well again.

Cover the bowl, and leave in a warm place (around 20°C / 68°F).

Day 3 – Evening

Give your starter a bit of a stir. Cover again.

Variations

If using whole wheat flour, use 30g flour to 45g water.

If using rye flour, use 25g flour to 50g water.

See the Day 0 FAQ for questions on flour types.

 

Next up: Day 4 – Feeding your Sourdough Starter. [Link goes live on Weds 25 April.]

These posts are part of a Sourdough Tweet-Along taking place from Sunday 22nd April (a.k.a. Day 1) until… well, until your starter is good and ready! Follow along at @BakerAndLoaf on Twitter, or follow the hashtag #SourdoughTweetAlong

Day 2 – Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

<< For a list of ingredients, equipment and FAQ, see Day 0 – How to Make a Sourdough Starter.

<< Previously: Day 1 – Mixing Your Sourdough Starter

Day 2 – Morning

By the next day, your starter may have developed a few air bubbles and a light layer on condensation on the inside of the clingfilm/shower cap. If it hasn’t, don’t worry. Just carry on with the next step.

Day 2

Add 35g tepid-to-warm water to your starter, and stir well. Then add 25g strong white flour, and stir well again.

Cover the bowl, and leave in a warm place (around 20°C / 68°F).

Day 2 – Evening

Give your starter a bit of a stir. Cover again.

Variations

If using whole wheat flour, use 30g flour to 45g water.

If using rye flour, use 25g flour to 50g water.

See the Day 0 FAQ for questions on flour types.

 

Next up: Day 3 – Feeding your Sourdough Starter.

These posts are part of a Sourdough Tweet-Along taking place from Sunday 22nd April (a.k.a. Day 1) until… well, until your starter is good and ready! Follow along at @BakerAndLoaf on Twitter, or follow the hashtag #SourdoughTweetAlong

Day 1 – Mixing Your Sourdough Starter

<< For a list of ingredients, equipment and FAQ, see Day 0 – How to Make a Sourdough Starter.

Day 1 – Morning

In a medium-sized bowl, weigh out:

  • 25g strong white flour
  • 35g tepid-to-warm water

Mix into a paste. It should look something like this:

Day 1 - Sourdough Starter

Day 1

Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a shower cap, and leave in a warm place (around 20°C / 68°F).

Day 1 – Evening

Give your starter a bit of a stir. Cover again.

Variations

If using whole wheat flour, use 30g flour to 45g water.

If using rye flour, use 25g flour to 50g water.

See the Day 0 FAQ for questions on flour types.

 

Next up: Day 2 – Feeding your Sourdough Starter.

These posts are part of a Sourdough Tweet-Along taking place from Sunday 22nd April (a.k.a. Day 1) until… well, until your starter is good and ready! Follow along at @BakerAndLoaf on Twitter, or follow the hashtag #SourdoughTweetAlong

How To Make A Sourdough Starter

How to make a sourdough starter

French Sourdough Boule

One of the questions I often get asked at my Essential Artisan Bread Making course is: ‘So how do you make sourdough bread?’

I’ll be the first to admit that my main two answers — a) ‘grow a wild yeast culture in a paste of flour and water’, and b) ‘come along to my Wild Yeast & Sourdoughs class!’ — are somewhat lacking.

So recently I’ve been going with c): ‘I’m about to write a series of articles over at the Baker & Loaf blog on how to make sourdough, I’ll send you the link, I promise.’

So true to my word, here’s the first in a series of posts on How To Make A Sourdough Starter.

Continue reading How To Make A Sourdough Starter »