Sourdough

Its been a weird few weeks. I’ve been doing a LOT of writing. It’s very satisfying to bend and shape these figments of my imagination into a coherant story and each day I’m visiting places in my mind that I’ve truly loved. That doesn’t take up every minute of the day and my latest project has been to create sourdough. I know, I know, late to the party but is your sourdough starter made only from flour and water? I caught this man on telly in a doco called COOKED and he was saying all these interesting things about bread and one of them was that if you mix flour and water together you will get a starter to make bread the way the ancient Egyptians did. I mixed the flour and water and went off to bed. The next morning there were a few wee bubbles and as the days went on, more and more until it was like Rotorua. It wasn’t the only thing frothing. I was really excited and ready for the loaf. It wasn’t a smashing success. I used twice as much starter as you should and thought you kneaded it. Oh how wrong could I be!! All the kneading gave me was sore wrists and a concrete block. Yesterday I actually looked up a recipe and tried again. Hmmm. It started off well but Do Not believe anyone who says cornmeal will stop dough sticking to the bottom of your Le Crueset casserole (aka ‘Dutch Oven’) The bread was burnt on the outside and full of raw dough inside. I know that because I chiselled a bit out of the pan to check. The rest I had to soak for 24 hours in water and Baking Soda before it would move. Today I tried again. By this time the poor old starter wasn’t looking that energetic but I had experience behind me. I chose my own oven temperature. Organized my own quantities (and I know this is off msg, but what is it about Americans thinking you can measure liquids in grams?) and ditched the expensive enamel cookware for the old faithful Temuka Ware casserole Nanna gave us for a wedding present. And I have to say the result looks like bread. Small bread but that’s intentional. Naturally the test is cracking her open and tasting it and that will come when it’s cooled, but I believe I have succeeded in making bread the way people have made it for centuries. With salt, water, flour and air.

This is the only thing I’ve photographed that looks smaller than it really is!

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