back to blogging...
Yes 2022 has been a good start for bread making, November and December 2021 were the usual busy month at work, then new years resolution and moving forward is the word.
In January I was hosting my second bread course at Perrys in Eccleshall, teaching people bread making is so fantastic and rewarded me with pride and joy, one asks will it ever get better then that....in the mean time my sourdough bread production has risen towards a micro bakery level. There is still so much to learn and develop in this world of flour salt and water but I am happy to show my bakes without any hesitation.
I learned, over the years being a Chef, that the most important thing is sourcing only quality produce and ingredients to make the best dishes, representing the true value of fine foods honouring the producers for their sublime produce and your staff for their skills. Making bread is very much the same, sourcing of flour is vital to achieve a great quality end product, no point having the best recipes if the flour you acquire is of second best, I learned from other bakers over time that a few key principals, the source of quality grains, the porper aging of th grains before the miller does his bit, the clean water free from metals and chlorine and natural sea salt. Have those three wright and you can make the best ever bread every day.
So my message with this blog is, It pays to have all things in order, distilled water, finest locally produced organic flour and Himalayan sea salt.
enjoy your bake x
so now we have established that bread making is a art of love, passion and great raw produce to work with, there is always time to take it 1 step further.
Being on the net for a few years and having contact with sourdough bakers worldwide, you see bread creations with other natural edible products to give bread a funky twist. In the picture you see 2 dough’s, one plain white made with T65 flour from @wildfarmed grain and the blue one made with the same flour and adding pea flower powder to get this fantastic electric colour. These two will be folded together at a later stage to give them a marble effect. Each slice will have a different story to tell. In my eyes that is the second best bit after the crunchy crusty taste.
When making bread, patience and love is required, not just recipe and set of scales,as discussed before everything should be considered, quality flour, purified water and natural salt. one starts at the beginning with making a levain for the bread to be made. A levain is the starter dough for the bread in hand and usually is part of the recipe. When making a levain it takes usual 5-7 hours to get to peak. Mix the flour and water from the recipe 1 hour before the levain peaks. Follow the recipe and add Levain to the flour and water dough, then add salt and go through the stretch and fold procedure for 3 hours and the retarding time. Bake in a Dutch oven and presto another fine bit of bread came to life, ready to eat with a fine homemade topping with family and friends. Every loaf has a story of its own and brings people together, the smell and taste does this for you.🙂
It all starts with flour and water and a little salt, using a decent flour you start a 'mother' or starter dougd or even sourdough starter. It will take 6-8 days to make this by feeding and discarding surplus dough. And once achieved the perfect balance, give you starter a name. It becomes part of your daily life. Once you start making sourdough bread and get the grips with it, you will never buy sliced bread again, you make bread when you need to, no waist, no chucking in the bin, you make toast of the stale bread if need be, you strike a balance between supply and demand, not only that, in the long run making your own sourdough bread will be cheaper to produce then buying a sliced loaf anywhere. In time you start to experiment by adding herbs, nuts,dried fruits or olives perhaps,the world is your oyster. next phase is to make french sticks, foccacia's chiabatta's etc whatever you fancy.
I have been busy making sourdough breads from first lockdown started in 2020, at the beginning there were some good results, but if one remembers at the start of lockdown there were flour shortages, amongst other things. I started buying flour in bulk from June 2020 to have enough to 'play' with, gone were the 2kg bags in came the 16-25kg bags it stopped restricting me from developing and fine tuning the art of my sourdough. Over time I became aware not to stay with the one producer of excellent flour but sourcing growers and millers. Unbelievable what is out there incredible good millers who and fantastic producers of heritage varieties, those where Britain was build on. It is taken for granted going into a shop and buy sliced white or brown, oh yes and there are the big supermarkets offering freshly baked frozen breads, full of sugars, preservatives funny fats, even E's and certain citric acid all to keep those breads another day fresh and half goes in the bin at the end of the week. But they all forgot about taste, nutrients, health, ecological impact on the environment, food miles etc
I leave it at this for the moment