Saturday, 8 October 2011

Don't Be An Old Sourdough

I have to record how proud I am of my latest experiment. I've been baking a loaf most days for the last month or two, but this one is different - it doesn't have any shop bought yeast in it! It's a sourdough made with "wild" yeast which gives it a generous acidic flavour.

Sourdough loaf

Here's how it started out:

Loaf rising in cheap "banneton"

And for good measure here's a rye flour cousin:

Rye Loaf
 In the past I have been a purist about adding commercial yeast to sourdough, but nowadays I have become more pragmatic.  If the results are good (light, crusty, tasty) then commercial yeast is a perfeclty legitimate ingredient in my book. All the same it is nice to prove you can make a decent loaf without it! Also the flavour is addictive and you will find yourself adding some sourdough starter to all the bread you make to give it that lift that you don't get with supermarket bread. Once bitten...


  1. Looks great Mal, wish I had some of that on our table this morning!

  2. I've never tasted sour dough bread. I guess the word sour is a bit off putting!

  3. Love that chewy crusty taste. In Glasgow a very popular variation is sweet and sour bread where a pinch of caraway seed is added. Aaaah

  4. Supermarket bread is just so INSUBSTANTIAL! And Sourdough doesn't really seem sour to me - just satisfying. Maybe needs a clam chowder or a Chilli con Carne with it though...

  5. I have to admit to never having baked or eaten sourdough bread....yours look s like a lovely loaf though and I'm glad you enjoyed the risk of sounding dumb....where do you get 'wild yeast' from??

  6. That's the magic bit about sourdough. You mix up a cup of flour (wholemeal or rye)and a cup of water and leave it covered with just a muslin for 3 days. If it starts frothing you've got a sourdough starter. Either the yeasts are attracted from the air or they already in the flour.

  7. Good lad. I make bread, but I've never had the time to make a sourdough!

    Is it really that different?

  8. Hi Mal; Reference Cavolo Nero (and your comment about it on my blog)... Have you ever made "Ribollita"? Very good indeed! Would go well with your Sourdough bread.

  9. Iggy, it's nearly all in the mind. I'm sure the supermarket sourdough is simply 'ordinary' bread with a generous splash of vinegar. For some reason it gives me a kick to think that if yeast came off the shelves I could carry on regardless! (So, post apocalypse, I'll just have to find clean water, flour and salt)

    Mark, Ribollita is a favourite. The "Under the Tuscan Gun" video of it is a classic which I find both informative and hilarious. (Their plum jam is equally quirky and good - now on UTube I think)