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Food for Thought: For the love of Sourdough.

Nigel Slater once said that sourdough bread is 'the bread lover's answer to opening a bottle of vintage Champagne' and I can't help but agree.

Sourdough bread baking is a beautiful and ancient art form. There is something so comforting about a slow afternoon baking bread. The soft smooth kneading of the dough and not to mention the most amazing smell of baking bread permeating through the entire house.

But what makes it so special?

Unlike traditional bread making using yeast, sourdough uses natural wild yeasts found in the air. Through a process of fermentation, the wild yeast and natural bacteria create a unique and flavorful loaf of bread. Sourdough bread is also more nutritious than traditional bread, as the fermentation process breaks down the gluten making it easier to digest.

There's something about the crust and chewy texture of sourdough that makes it so special to eat, spread thickly with salted grass-fed butter - you really need nothing more.

The starter

To make sourdough you will need a starter - you can buy these online or some bakeries will let you buy some - however, with a little nurturing it is relatively simple to make at home.

Simply mix together equal parts flour and water in a jar and let it sit in a warm place for 3-5 days, or until it begins to bubble and foam. To keep your starter active, feed it equal parts flour and water once a day.

If you are not going to be baking bread for a while, you can store your starter in the refrigerator. Just be sure to feed it before using it again. For a more detailed recipe click here.

The Loaf

My love of bread only deepens with each year and now as I make my own loaf on a cosy Sunday afternoon I bask in my own content baking bubble. Making sourdough is a slow process and one I particularly enjoy however I too am under the usual constraints of everyday life. So if you would like to try your hand at making a sourdough loaf at home I recommend Nigel Slater's recipe below. In this recipe, he has cut down the time it takes to knead and prove the dough and yet the loaf is still as crisp and delicious as it should be.

Sourdough loaf

Nigel Slater

Makes one large loaf that will keep for 3 or 4 days.

  • 250g starter (leaven)

  • 500g white bread flour

  • 350g water at 20C

  • 1.5 tsp finely ground sea salt

  • Flour for dusting

Get the full recipe and directions here.



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