The sourdough diaries: Good morning Mr Baker

February 11 – 7am

Following my sourdough adventures of late, i fully intended  bake a loaf of sourdough each week. I  reckoned it would force me to practice and hopefully improve, and also master the skewed temperature settings in my cranky old oven, which sabotaged my first sourdough efforts last week. But i’ve already stumbled in the second week and just bought a loaf! Why?

Well my partner is starting a new job today and i wanted to send him to work with a sandwich for lunch. We adore the crusty Rosetta rolls baked by our  local Vietnamese baker, Nam Viet Hot Bread, in the neighbouring suburb of Five Dock. And the stale remains of my first home-baked loaf certainly aren’t sandwich worthy any longer (and possibly never was!). So i got up early to buy  fresh rolls for our lunches. While i was there, mesmerised by the smell of freshly baked bread, i bought a loaf, too. What can i say? I have no willpower! And i also have very little time over the next few days … and sourdough baking takes a little bit of that.

But i haven’t let myself off scott free. I need to get on top of this dodgy old oven lark, so my mission this week is to buy an oven thermometer in order to be better prepared for the next bake-off (which is suspect won’t happen now until the weekend).

February 11 – 11am

I’ve been reading a sourdough tutorial by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial (she introduced me to this baking game in the first place), and feeling really guilty about buying bread this morning. I know that i’m procrastinating on the home baking front, because the first loaf was just okay and not out of this world. I’m also not looking forward to another  battle with the oven. If i have a thermometer i’ll feel more confident.

But guilt sent me into the kitchen to feed Priscilla — the sourdough starter gifted to me by Celia. She (the starter) was looking a little watery on top, but from the photos in Celia’s tutorial this seems to be okay. I’ve added ¼ cup of bakers’ flour and a ¼ of a cup of water, as per instructions. I stirred it in (not sure if i’m supposed to), then gave her a little loving tap on her container lid. I hope she’ll forgive me my delay, and be kind to me on her next outing.

February 11 – 11.3oam

I’ve just had a slice of toast made from the remainder of my first sourdough loaf. Sliced thinly it toasted fine, unlike those first few days when the toast was gluggy (due to too much moisture that an additional 10minutes in the oven would have sorted out). It was best eaten fresh in those first few days, and staleness has made it a better toasting bread. Message to self: don’t give up — get to know your bread.

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13 Comments

Filed under Produce, The Sourdough Diaries

13 responses to “The sourdough diaries: Good morning Mr Baker

  1. Rachel, there’s no room for guilt in baking! Just do whatever you want to do – Priscilla will be fine in the fridge until you need her, just remember to feed her weekly. Baking bread is great fun when it fits into your life, not when you have to fit your life around it (then it’s a chore!). 🙂
    Sometimes I’ll go a fortnight without baking bread – the freezer reserves will run right down. At those times, we default to Lebanese pita bread.. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the moral support, Celia!

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      • Celia is right – homemade bread will always be appreciated and end up being eaten.
        I would suggest you invest in good kitchen scales and would eliminated the guessing work for the hydration of the dough – some flours are heavier than others, sometimes the weather humidity will affect the weight of the flour… To be on safe side do it as the bakers pro – use scales 🙂
        Don’t worry about the looks of your first loaf, as long as it tastes great!
        Looking forward to your next post – Home made butter 🙂 🙂 🙂
        I usually make mine cultured and it is worth every mess in the kitchen!!!

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  2. PS. yes, to feed the starter, stir in some bakers flour and water. If you’re not using her, pop her back in the fridge. x

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  3. Ally

    Yes, an extra, independant thermometer will do wonders when it comes to home baking. I’m glad you took that advice, it really will help – confidence is a very helpful tool when baking and unreliable ovens do not help in more ways than just the obvious. Opening the door too often is a big downfall in many a loaf!

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  4. grabyourfork

    Loving your sourdough journey. I have quite a few friends who have sourdough children and the tlc involved makes me appreciate every bite of sourdough I have the pleasure of consuming!

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  5. My oven is a 1970’s vintage; when I started baking sourdough bread I bought an inexpensive thermometer from Chef’s warehouse in Surry Hills………only a couple of dollares and works a treat.

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