Lockdown Diaries: Cheating At Sourdough

Stylonylon  Breadmaking

You think you’re being highly original, then turns out you are not the only one, quelle horreur! To the extent that what you are doing has become highly mocked in some circles…

Nevertheless, I decided to forge ahead with the sourdough madness starter and over the five day schedule was surprising at how easily it fitted into daily life and around the things you normally do. A small amount of doing, then a lot of leaving (which suits me quite well, being the kind to leave all sorts of domestic chores to one side and for as long as deemed acceptable – I know we all have our own benchmarks on this…)

So the starter got made and then so did the bread dough (leave aside, leave aside for ages) until it was ready to bake. The recipe I used produced two rather small loaves, perfectly acceptable, not risen madly, no hugely springy crumb inside, but no complaints.

(In case your interest is picqued, these are the two BBC recipes I used: the sourdough starter https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sourdough_starter_22976 & the bread https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/how_to_make_sourdough_08213 )

As flour has become quite hard to come, I’ve just using what’s been available. To begin with just plain white, instead of strong white which is what the recipe calls for – would the end result have been wildly different? Will probably never know, as I don’t expect to get my hands on any soon.

What the supermarket did toss up one day though was a flour mix for making bread. As in, you just add water and bake. So I thought I’d add my starter (same amount as in my original recipe) and see what would happen…

Wow, because of the yeast in the flour mix I’m guessing, it rose like crazy! It was what I imagine the apex of bread making to be, that moment of delirious delight when you have dough straining from within itself in risen glee.

Popping this in the oven, I already knew I had a winner. And whether my added starter had anything to do with it, I’ll never know, because I have no plans to veer from my new system. If it ain’t broke, etc, etc.

So that’s two times running now we’ve got hold of this strange flour for break making mix and long may it last. I feel a huge sense of guilt taking this mix into my process and getting great albeit not truly sourdough results. I really do feel like I’m cheating! But bread is bread is bread, right? It’s not quite sourdough but it really will do. It’s not how you got there, it’s where you’ve ended up, innit?

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  1. Love this. I am currently trying to revive a starter given to me by a friend – may adopt your method now! Sourdough, in any form, has to be a good way to fill our lockdown time. Loving your posts and photographs from lockdown. A x

    1. Ah brilliant, great to hear! I am by no means being hardcore about this haha, just trying to enjoy it 🙂 good luck with the starter, just reading about how to feed & maintain them! Xx

  2. I’m in no position to judge your bread recipe, but the photo accompanying it is superb. Which camera and lens did you use? Do you know the Czech photographer Josef Sudek? He did a whole series (in black & white) called ‘The World from my Window.” In several of these he used bread slices. Thank you!

    1. Oh lovely! Yes I used Olympus Pen F plus M.Zuiko 25mm 1.2 lens – thankyou! I will have a look!

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