However it will soon be time for the Christmas Specials that I have talked about before, and I have been gathering supplies in readiness. I need to do a couple of practise runs before I start in earnest, and have sorted out a delivery to Gravesend in November to test the waters.
We are off to Totnes Good Food Market tomorrow, so hopefully, I can get the last of my ingredients there.
Back to the reason for this post. I have two unsung heroes in my kitchen, who over the last couple of years have given me both joy and heartache. They require regular attention, but never complain as long as you keep them fed. You can't rush them, but they can be relied on
I refer to my sourdough starters, who I call Rula and Hortense, (well they are alive so naming them seems only right) and they live mainly in my fridge. Of course I haven't put the names on the containers, people might start to wonder! But Rula is on the left.
|Rula and Hortense|
Now depending on which book or website you look at, the techniques for sourdough vary tremendously, initially, I was so confused that I almost didn't bother with sourdough, thinking that it was much to complicated, but the truth is that it's so simple, just as long as you ignore all the conflicting advice and just pick a single method. After all, sourdough has been around for a while, and seems to have survived as a way of baking.
Most of the conflicting advice is probably the result of regional differences, of course with the ease of communication today these are more easily spotted. And every method works on its own, I can see now that the problems arise if you start combining them.
So when I fed the starters yesterday, I first took about 200 of mix from each and combined them in a bowl.
I added Wholemeal flour and water to get a batch of dough, and a little salt, and gave it all a good stir. At this point it looks nothing like dough, but be patient, cover it and leave it in the kitchen overnight.
Next morning, there were bubbles,
and it looked good when I turned it out.
Now you stretch and fold it a couple of times, and you will feel it start to stiffen up. I don't propose to tell you how to do that, as its self explanatory, just remember to turn the dough 90 degrees after each fold. You will feel when it has tension, so shape it and put it in a tin for baking.
cover it again and leave it for at least 4 hours, this gives the ladies time to develop flavour and work their magic.
After 8 hours it had risen a little, I don't expect a huge rise with Spelt/Rye, but the flavour of the close texture is worth it. You can see a few bubbles on the top, so the yeast is doing it's job.
So into the oven with steam for about 45 minutes and it was ready,
Now I have to be patient and let it cool a bit before I slice, pity you can't smell it, the house is full of the tang of sourdough. YUM!
I couldn't wait any longer, here is the crumb,
just had the end with butter, WOW!