Last weekend I was at a sourdough course at The One Mile Bakery. Sourdough is a mystifying process with as many theories, processes and recipes as there are bakers. My own view, as with most things, is to find what works for you and don't worry about it. I've been working with sourdough a little over the last couple of months with varying results and found the contradictory information on the internet and in my books baffling so my aim was to learn one technique that I could repeat and master, then vary as I want.
I've also been having problems in the last month or so with my loaves splitting around the side and it turns out that my shaping was at fault. This is something to work on and this first attempt is better.
I've already covered a baking course at OMB fairly comprehensively but suffice to say that it was a fun day and I feel much better equipped to make bread just like the ancient Egyptians and Californian cowboys used to!
Here is my first post course loaf, a 50/50 white and wholemeal loaf using Shipton Mill organic flour and a starter that I bought from Hobbs House bakery. His name is Gruff.
And just in case learning sourdough wasn't challenge enough, I'm also experimenting with this:
This is a baking dome that I bought from Bakery Bits last month. My oven at home is a very small fan oven and struggles with producing a good crust. The idea behind this is to use the stoneware cloche to create an oven inside an oven, creating an even the temperature and retaining moisture to produce a cracking crust and oven spring. So far my results have been mixed while trying to find the right temperature and bake time but it does always produce a marvellous crust and as you can see a high spring.
I'm starting to ponder festive bread too and I'm working on a recipe for an enriched, sweetened dough that we can eat on Christmas morning.