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***My new winter obsession,*** update!! success at last!


I always like to have something to keep me occupied during the long winter months, the last two have been Annie Sloaning furniture and whatever else I could get my hands on, I have now run out of projects!!
So I have now taken up making sourdough, little did I realise how it would take over my life lol firstly there is all the equipment…tins or casseroles to bake it in, accurate scales, thermometers, special scoring knife (lame) to slash the dough, banneton to prove the dough in, good quality flour, bottled water!!!! books on the art!
Then you have to create this magical starter, which has to be fed like a pet…..people even name them, would you believe it? all quite hilarious really…….but it does tend to take over your life, believe me…..the first loaf I made was very good, was bowled over, then the next two were awful, what did I do wrong? so on to the internet……I am not alone, I am now following a sourdough expert on Instagram….I am now determined to get it right..

I have made two more, which look beautiful, but they are still not right, not enough holes…..crumb not right, so back to the drawing board for me.
Anyone else attempted this very annoying art? and what will you be doing these coming months, when the weather stops play in the garden..

So there you have it….I shall be in the kitchen, hoping for a miracle..

My latest loaf, so happy to actually get it right!

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They look brilliant to me. I buy my mine in Sainsbury's!
I do less creative things, like reading, knitting, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles & colouring books. I go out for some reason or other every day, except in the really bad weather, as it drives me mad being in all day. Some Sunday's I walk with the Surrey Walks Club ( weather permitting & if come down my area).

20 Nov, 2018


Yes, I've been having a go at it too,but without buying any fancy equipment, which you really don't need...I use ordinary bread tins, my ordinary scales, I only feed my starter very occasionally if I go a long time without making any bread. I only used my (jam making) thermometer once to check the heat of the CH boiler where I rise the dough, and I use water from my usual water filter.
The temperature isn't that critical, it just affects the time taken for rising. The longer the rise the stronger the flavour!
I'm at a bit of a drawback because I can only use brown spelt flour which is denser that white wheat flour, so my crumb is rather dense but it tastes good anyway. I do love white sourdough but sadly its off the menu...

Your loaf does look really yummy!

I think the rise with lots of holes could well result from the professionals' use of the steam baking process. I know the supermarket ones usually just have enough real sourdough to flavour the mix and are cheating really! Looking forward to hearing more about your breadmaking!

20 Nov, 2018


Well they look wonderful. I have just started work on a painting!

20 Nov, 2018


Very courageous past time, DD.... Have often thought it might be a good interest for my OH to take up. Sounds rather complicated though.
They look very inviting....
Thank goodness we have secondary pastimes during those dull winter months.

20 Nov, 2018


Well done Angela. I think most of us like a project when we canโ€™t be gardening . . . Iโ€™m doing a bit of painting, planning a Christmas card, writing letters, walking most days, enjoying crosswords and reading a lot!

20 Nov, 2018


Well done DD the loaves look more than good enough to eat....truly scrumptious! I love the smell of home baked bread. We cheat and but a branded packet to make bread of different kinds....
I am writing poetry and have just completed another small children's booklet of poems with drawings for them to colour in, for our community here. They go into the doctors and dentists, free for the taking and the children seem to like them. I've written a mini panto for our over 50's club too.

21 Nov, 2018


I can almost smell that bread from the picture, well done!

Yes we all have to keep busy on these dark wet days like today, reading, writing my 'diary' - only the fun stuff and mostly to remind me exactly when we did things as my memory sucks.

Also new 'winter warmer' meals become an excitement for evenings, stews and casseroles taste so much better on a dark chilly night.

December will be spent decorating for Christmas which we do, as in an Advent style, one item per day for 24 days.

By January it will be a totally different decorating, the wallpaper and paint type but I ain't looking forward to that bit yet!

Lindak - I love the idea of colouring in and poem books for children, what a clever and thoughtful lot you all are!

21 Nov, 2018


They look great, I have thought about trying to make them but that is always as far as I ever get lol. With the lead up to Christmas I tend to be busy with getting ready for that and also work. Also with not being out in the garden all day, the dogs take up more of my time. Ben is nearly 10 which is fairly old for a German Shepherd and so can't do the really long walks anymore but gets fed up being indoors so much in the winter so I end up thinking up and doing more things with them that I can do indoors. Also plan to do some more decorating after Christmas.

21 Nov, 2018


Yes, I agree that the poetry & colouring books are a great idea. I think we're a pretty creative lot, who like to keep occupied.

21 Nov, 2018


Good luck Angela ,I'm sure you'll win in the end with dogged determination Lol ..
I'm following the Hairy bikers at the moment as soon as I watch them making something tasty I rush off to print it out .
You started something in our house with the Annie Sloan we have a few bits of Shabby chic since moving , T's latest project is a toy box with the word TOYS picked out across the front with a soldier and teddy each side , it looks nice we keep all our games in it ..

21 Nov, 2018


On second thoughts was I being a bit know it all - I was just trying to be helpful. I used a book calle Do Sourdough by Andrew Whitley and it has recipes for different kinds including pizza dough

21 Nov, 2018


I am building a layout for my new collection - an N gauge
model railway. Lots to do with the landscape and scenery.
Am learning as I go. Never brood now, always thinking about my next job. Amazing the amount there is to learn.
Its totally different.

22 Nov, 2018


I make bread quite often but not often enough to do sourdough maintenance, though I've tried to.
Mostly I use a machine to make a 70% hydration, i.e. sticky, dough with a small amount of yeast & salt, then prove for 24 hours or more in the fridge so that flavours get a chance to develop.
I often use an upside down casserole dish for a steam effect crust in a domestic oven but I'm beginning to think that the idea that everything has to to be at maximum temperature before putting the dough in is absolute hooey!
The open/holey crumb just comes down to the yeast's ability to give out gases in a flexible dough: so the wetter/looser the dough the more holey.
(Have you ever looked at Jeff Lahey's No-knead recipe?)
Once I've done the first, long prove in the fridge with a sticky dough, I'm okay with using plenty of flour & some sea salt for a hand knead & plenty of stretching (stretch 5 times at 10 minute intervals at least 5 times), then shape & put on the buttered casserole lid before putting the casserole base on top.
I like the poke test for baking readiness:
-If it springs back from an oiled finger poke it's still
-If it partially springs back it'll have a good oven rise.
-If it doesn't spring back it should be re-kneaded, it's
gone too far.

Just guidance, not rules...
Baking times can be longer with no problems in a domestic oven.
Once cooked till it gives a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom then you can brown the crust

23 Nov, 2018


Sounds gorgeous!!!
DD I'm also fermenting my own kefir - and after a couple of weeks you can make quark with the spare grains as they grow quite fast.

24 Nov, 2018


Great-looking loaves! OH used to make all our wholemeal bread but has now given up. We are both enjoying leisurely days as the Winter has put a stop to gardening. The greenhouse only needs a little attention.
Our latest project, however, we would rather not have. Our little cat has hyperthyroidism. At the moment this means medication twice daily and we are finding this very difficult. The liquid has to be given for the rest of her life and costs nearly ยฃ40 for 50ml. plus monthly blood tests and checks and there is no cure following this route. So we are considering radioactive iodine treatment and are seeking surgeries where this is done. I believe there are only around 10 places in the UK that do this. If you're reading this, Brian, there is a clinic in your area that one can attend. Do you know of it, please?
My decluttering project continues but not sure if I can say it is successful. I have de-cluttered my camera!! Think someone in a charity shop got a bargain!! :O(

24 Nov, 2018


My word!! what a creative bunch of people you are, from poetry, painting, kefir(on my to do list) railway layouts, decorating, Annie Sloaing..... photo please Amy!! reading, knitting puzzles, walking ......I can see you are all going to be well occupied this winter!
Darren thanks for all your information, I made the perfect loaf the other day, I might have cracked it, we shall see, apparently organic flour is not stable, and not suitable for beginners like me!
Eirlys, sorry to hear about your little cat, difficult! situation to be in for all of you...
So carry on enjoying your winter hobbies, Spring is just around the corner O:-)

25 Nov, 2018


Is there a Homeopathic Hospital for cats ?

25 Nov, 2018


I've never tried sour dough but I will try anything once. I will loook it up.Your looks really tasty. I make lactose free bread, not because we have an intolerance but because we love the taste and texture. The only trouble with homemade bread is it smells and tastes so good you have to make it nearly every day!!

25 Nov, 2018


Go for it Homebird! First time takes ages as you have to make the starter before you can start...Each process doesn't take long but you need two days because of waiting times.
Do you have a bread machine for your lactose free bread?
I didn't know bread had lactose in it anyway?

25 Nov, 2018


This recipe sounds like the yeast starter we used to have in the 'Friendship cake' that we passed around. I can't remember how that went now. I do have a bread maker. It's ancient but works fine. I think some recipes call for some butter/milk in the recipes. I use coconut oil to replace the fat and reduce the sugar.

26 Nov, 2018


I think my sourdough book mentions the Friendshp Cake. What did it taste like?
I've never put either butter or milk in ordinary bread and only a teaspoon of sugar to feed the yeast. A bit of a vit C tablet helps too.
I use brown spelt flour these days because of wheat intolerance and it doesn't rise as well but it tasted good. (Bread with white spelt tastes horrible though.)

Diane there are homeopathic vets but they are few and far between. We have a local vet who uses acupuncture very effectively though.

26 Nov, 2018


Home bird .... OH and I were only talking this morning about the Friendship Cake!! I knew the starter reminded me of something from the past! I am going back 25 years or more! used to love it, we lived in a cul-de-sac and everyone made it, happy days!
It is a faddlle to get a Sourdough starter going, I had to buy a heated mat, the kind you use for seeds, luckily OH will find it very useful in the spring, we live in a cold house, once it's going though it's fine, you then keep it in the fridge, and feed it when you want to make a loaf...

I have an up to date bread machine, not tried the sourdough recipe yet, but it makes a fantastic Brioche and spicy fruit loaf, like you HB I use coconut oil, Stork do a big block 100% coconut oil, I use it all the time now, made some lovely carrot cake cupcakes, and a banana cake.....and also I always reduce the sugar, far too much, especially the American websites!!
Stera I am going to try a mix of Spelt, when I have perfected this white one, it is organic flour, so nothing artificial!just need to get a few more under my belt.....

26 Nov, 2018


I keep trying to do pizza bases like the good nearby take-away shops do & always fail.
But earlier I made a base that made me think I was chasing the wrong thing. I can't make burger buns or coated chicken like the big chains either, nice though they can be...
So, sharing what I think can make a better-than-good pizza base:
For each 100g of strong bread flour add 75ml of warm water. Mix till together, very sticky.
Leave for 20 minutes (autolyse).
Add 5 per cent of sugar depending on how much dough you're making & half a teaspoon of easy bake yeast.
Hand mix or preferably make your machine mix the ingredients.
After ten minutes add salt (2 per cent by weight of the flour) & gradually work in plenty of olive oil.
Put a good puddle of oil in a bowl, tip the dough in, turn to cover in oil & cover with cling film at room temp for a couple of hours.
Refrigerate overnight-this is where flavour develops!
When ready to bake, let dough get to room temp & use cornmeal instead of flour to stop hands, rolling pins, work surfaces sticking

10 Dec, 2018


I must try this......

13 Dec, 2018

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