My Sourdough Love Affair
One of the things that I thought I would be unable to do whilst living in the caravan was to continue making the sourdough bread that we started back in the days while living in a house.
We brought the 2 starters we had, one made from White flour and one from Rye flour, and have been feeding them. I managed (due to the cool weather) to keep them originally in the awning but now live under the caravan in this warmer weather.
Because the weather has been so cold here in the UK winter, the awning has served as our secondary fridge.
The day before making the bread … one loaf at a time … I bring in the starter and in the evening make up the sponge with the flour, water and starter.
One thing that I have found is don’t even bother trying to make bread if your starter is sluggish – you will end up with a flat loaf. Give it another small feed and leave for a few more hours to get bubbly.
In cold weather I leave the batter to sit overnight and then the next day (after the Man has left for work), when there is a little more room, measure out the flour and salt then mix well together and knead the dough (using the mixer and dough hook). I leave it then to rise probably for 2 – 3 hours (when it has risen about 2x original size) then knock it back (knead with my hands) and place it into a floured baton basket to rise.
Initially I was rather dubious as to whether the caravan gas oven (cooker) was able to get hot enough but with a few technique modifications we have turned out some really good loaves of bread which also includes some sourdough focaccia. The cooking change we have made is covering the bread with some foil to stop the top from getting too brown. We have both rye and white starters and I understand there are some flour millers in the area so will search them out and hopefully buy some really good flour.
Like any cooking it comes down to the quality of your ingredients.
On a holiday to France a few years ago we just happened upon a flour mill in the middle of the countryside in lower Normandy. The miller was in the process of grinding some flour and the smell was absolutely wonderful.
The Man and I have always made bread, in the earlier days using fresh yeast and sometimes having to substitute with dried yeast when we were unable to get the fresh. But now we have our 2 “children” we are definitely converts to sourdough.
I must admit that I still keep a few sachets of yeast in case we need an instant loaf.
Since starting out on this sourdough journey I have read a lot from various books and also online. Some of the books that I have gained inspiration from have been “Dough” by Richard Bertinet, “The Handmade Loaf” by Dan Lepard and “Bourke Street Bakery” by Paul Allum and David Mcguinness.
I will be adding to this post with more Sourdough information, so do come back….