Real Bread – is flour, water and salt really poetry, science, history – or politics?

To mark the start of “Real Bread Week” (23rd Feb – 3rd Mar 2019),  I did everything in my power to pass on the ‘sourdough bug’ to my 10 year old niece Olivia.

Olivia creates her levain – starter, plus a small amount of flour & water.

I’m not sure whether sourdough baking is more poetry or science – looking after the starter culture; autolysing the dough; the rhythms of the stretch & fold in the bulk fermentation (less aggression than a knead); the shaping; the proving; the scoring; and the eventual bake at 240 degrees with steam.

Olivia takes her levain, then adds a huge amount of flour and water, mixes to create the dough which she leaves to autolyse.

Or whether it is more history (the ancestry of your starter culture; and all those ancient organic grains – einkorn; emmer; khorasan), or more about ‘living in the now‘ (the texture; the smell; keeping to time – and of course, the taste)?

Olivia with her finished sourdough bake – in her ‘I Am Real Bread’ limited edition ‘Real Bread Week’ apron.

All I know is that it puts a smile on my face – and a loaf to pass on to a friend, neighbour or stranger. In that respect, and its total integrity as opposed to everything else you see going on in the formal structures of representative democracy, sourdough – and ‘Real Bread’ is one of the most political things I get my hands on right now!

Me in a ‘Real Bread Week’ special edition t-shirt as Real Bread Week kicks off.

Thank you for the continuing inspiration, with flair and style to Bake with Jack; Vanessa Kimbell (and her Sourdough Club & Sourdough School); Guildford Sourdough Club; The Wee Baker and so many more. Do look each of them up on Instagram – and Jack has a great YouTube channel.

Crumb shot. Crumbs!

You can find where I got the original recipe I used for sourdough starter here, and the recipe for the actual loaves here – both from Kitchn.

The two main books I always recommend are Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s “How To Make Sourdough“, and Vanessa Kimbell’s “The Sourdough School.”  The book by Sarah Owens, “Sourdough:  Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savouries and More” explores a vast array of ingredients, and is beautifully laid out too.

The absolute key is to develop yourself a time schedule – draw a chart if it helps. Each batch takes me two days. Once you know your time pattern, it gets a lot easier.  And it is nothing more than flour, water and salt.  The more you practice, the more you learn – and Bake with Jack’s videos are great for practical tips and answer very specific questions too.

Find out more about the Real Bread movement here.

The floury corner of my kitchen.

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One thought on “Real Bread – is flour, water and salt really poetry, science, history – or politics?

  1. Pingback: Sourdough September – the Power of Three! | Common

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