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Something bubbling in my kitchen

February 9, 2015

sourdough starterThe windows are wide open during the day, a fresh breeze blows through the house and every surface is coated with a fine dust. Whether this is sand or flour is hard to tell. Before Christmas I waited and waited for a letter that did not come. January arrived and a few weeks in, an envelope covered in colourful stamps was waiting for me on the table. The magic granules from Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, created with flour, water and invisible elements in the atmosphere, had travelled by halfway round the world from Australia. The offspring of Priscilla, christened Prudence by me, was stirred into some more flour and water and started a new life in Dubai.

So in my kitchen this month have been golden, chewy-crusted loaves and the scent of baking; the first steps in my new routine as a regular sourdough bread baker. I started by following Celia’s sourdough 101 guidance then, a couple of overnight loaves. Some have been baked in a Le Creuset cast iron pot, one on a baking tray. With Celia’s straightforward but meticulous guidance, informed by her experience and knowledge, the baking routine has not been arduous at all and the fear factor replaced by curiosity and excitement. Oh, and the bread is very good (don’t judge a book by its cover).

Next I tried a rye loaf, using Dan Lepard’s method from The Handmade Loaf. There are some fantastic passages in the book, I love how inclusive and non-judgemental he is:

The adage here must be to bake with what you have; make the best of what is around you. For some, there is no choice in their minds but to use a natural leaven as the sole ferment within a dough. For others, this is akin to witchcraft, and a madness in an age of convenience. To my mind, a beautiful loaf, wrought with care and consideration, must be the aim;

The dough was like a sticky lump of porridge, impossible to knead or shape properly. The finished loaf was black-tinged, cracked and a bit flattened. It looked dry and overbaked from the outside, but when I cut into it slightly underbaked. However, the taste was sublime, slightly sour, deep and malty. I now have a rye starter (or leaven) in my fridge and I’m looking forward to many more rye loaves in my kitchen… hopefully a bit better looking.

Good bread needs the best cheese, so I’ve been tucking into some English cheeses from the South-West kindly brought back from Devon by Drina of Eaternal Zest.Β  I remembered a sandwich which I used to order from a little Italian deli in Goodge Street and recreated it for lunch. With beautiful ripe tomatoes from the market, basil from the garden and Astraea olive oil I’ve had it two days in a row already.

So with bread baking, veggie teens month of veganism (thanks to Tidjoori for some lovely organic, vegan products including a mayo) and lots more to tell you about in the pipeline, this is a quick look ‘in my kitchen’. All pictures and editing were done with my new iphone 6 plus using Snapseed, Fuzel, Diptic, Over and Letterglow apps (not all at the same time!).

You can gain admittance to many more kitchens through Celia’s monthly event – look for the list in her sidebar. And thank you once again dear Celia, for welcoming me into the fold of your worldwide sourdough baking family.

What’s in your kitchen this February?

26 Comments
  1. February 9, 2015 11:41 pm

    Beautiful loaves! Homemade sourdough bread is so delicious.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. andreamynard permalink
    February 10, 2015 12:27 am

    Your loaves look delicious Sally. I’ve been loving baking sourdough the last few weeks too – partly with Edna, offspring of Priscilla and partly with a starter I got going with rye flour. It’s all very tasty but I’m having bread envy when I look at those lovely airy holes in yours. What do you think I’m doing wrong not to get those?

  3. February 10, 2015 1:07 am

    I hope I can make Celia proud with a few good loaves soon.
    Have a beautiful and happy week ahead Sally.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo

  4. February 10, 2015 1:09 am

    Sally, look at those loaves! Such a great crumb! So happy you’re enjoying the process, and isn’t Dan’s book great? I sent you a message about the starter – the one specified in Dan’s book is drier than ours, which might be why your rye loaf was so wet. Even so, what a superb loaf you turned out!

  5. February 10, 2015 1:52 am

    Beautiful loaves Sally, Priscilla is certainly a vigorous progenitor!! You have done her proud..

  6. February 10, 2015 1:59 am

    What a gorgeous blog! Your bread looks awesome.

  7. February 10, 2015 3:48 am

    Looks divine. I really need to start using my child of Priscilla too. Beautiful photos too. Thanks for the app suggestions.

  8. The Real Geordie Armani permalink
    February 10, 2015 9:30 am

    sharing this one to Facebook for the husband πŸ™‚

  9. February 10, 2015 12:48 pm

    Cover of the book looks fine to me! Great results indeed.

  10. February 10, 2015 6:50 pm

    Sally, thanks for sharing your sourdough journey – Celia has really started something, hasn’t she?! I made a batch of Dan Lepard’s rye crackers (from Short and Sweet) and what he said there was that rye is sticky but if you leave it for a few minutes, it does become less so. Once I had mushed and mixed the dough which was basically rye flour, sugar, salt and milk, I left it for about 15 minutes and lo and behold it was really easy to pinch of chunks and roll them out. Not sure if that would have helped seeing as this is a high hydration starter (166% I think) but worth a mention. I already use some of the apps you mentioned and am off to investigate the rest!

  11. February 10, 2015 8:28 pm

    Wow! Sally, it is always a happy place to visit-your blog posts😊.
    Love bread and these loaves are tempting and so inviting.

  12. February 10, 2015 10:48 pm

    It all looks fabulous!! Hello Prudence, your niece, Star says hi πŸ™‚

  13. February 11, 2015 2:44 am

    Prudence. Love the name Sally! In my kitchen there was supposed to be kale but some little blighter at the allotment ate it 😦 seriously i really beed to do sourdough again but in a cold victorian house its really hard work!

  14. February 11, 2015 6:18 am

    look at all your wonderful loaves. marvellous! i have celia’s starter too but am waiting till i get back from my travels in march to get a grip on it.

  15. lizzygoodthings permalink
    February 11, 2015 11:45 am

    Oooooh, Sally, looks fab! Happy baking.

  16. February 11, 2015 1:57 pm

    Welcome to the world Prudence! I have Lucy Liu here and she’s magnificent πŸ™‚

  17. February 12, 2015 11:40 pm

    Love your title. That’s the best part of making dough, the bubbling action πŸ™‚

  18. sarithakumbakkara permalink
    February 13, 2015 10:16 am

    Yummy loaves! Great job Sally!

  19. Heidi Kurth permalink
    February 13, 2015 11:05 pm

    I have just discovered your blog today and what a coincidence when I see your post about sourdough…I just made sourdough today also πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to read more posts and try some recipes!

  20. February 14, 2015 8:30 pm

    Thanks for letting us sneak into your sourdough kitchen adventures. I happen to bake in my Le creusets too, I think it makes a good crust and helps to keep slightly too wet doughs in better shape :-). PS: Your loaves all look fine!

  21. February 17, 2015 12:31 pm

    I love hearing about all these starters spreading joy, and sourdough, around the world!
    Thanks for sharing, it all looks fabulous!
    Beck

  22. February 17, 2015 7:28 pm

    Reading this on a fast day: I won’t make that mistake again! I am so pleased that you are loving your ‘Celia starter’. When I finally get round to starting mine up (a Russian one) I will do the le Creuset trick too. I’ve seen a few folk now doing it this way it really makes a lot of sense to get that structure and crust going. My will is being severely tested right now! Thanks also for the pointers crammed into this most informative post πŸ™‚

  23. February 19, 2015 11:07 pm

    I want to be in your kitchen! xo

  24. February 23, 2015 6:52 pm

    Sally, your “golden chewy-crusted loaves” and resulting sandwich look divine.

  25. March 4, 2015 2:07 pm

    Waw, all fabulous appetizing breads! Yum yum yummm! Keep on going, my beloved friend! x

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