Sunday, 22 July 2007


I know the idea of a long-drawn out tripartite baking process is not necessarily a welcome one, but presumably you do this because you want to, not because you are trying to find time-saving ways in the kitchen and kind of stumbled onto this by mistake - Nigella Lawson

The Verdict
Still on a bread kick, the decision was made to bake sourdough in tandem with fellow blogger, Tanya. She lives in hundeds of kilometres away in Brisbane, so it was long distance tandem baking. She just so happens so be a Nigella fan, too, so we chose the sourdough recipe from Domestic Goddess and set about making it on Wednesday last week. Yes, that's right - it's a recipe that takes days. Fortunately, much of the process is set-and-forget. And is it great? Oh yes it is. Even if Nigella says her version cheats a little.

Unusual or substituted Ingredients: I don't mess around with bread recipes. I do as I'm told so I didn't change anything, but she does give you the option of making rye or white sourdough. I chose rye. Above, that muddy looking sludge is what's known as the starter. That's flour, a pinch of yeast (that's apparently the cheating part - you're not supposed to do put that in traditionally), a hint of milk and warm water. For three days, that disgusting mixture bubbles and froths away. It's living. How cool is that? That's about the most unsual thing I've cooked since starting the project, I think.

Three days later you make a sponge.

That's where you take some of the starter (the rest gets kept as a sort of family pet for future use) and mix it with more flour and you leave that for about 18 hours. It's certainly a drawn out process!

Finally by Saturday afternoon, we got to the proper bread stage. Here's my loaf proving in the sun. It actually had a tea towel over it, but that doesn't make for as nice a photo.

Special Utensils or Cookware: None at all. As always, you could knead with a dough hook, but I like the hand method.

The dough, after punching it down

Repeatability: Well now that I have the tasty starer in the fridge (you have to feed it periodically to keep it alive) I will have no problem making sourdough whenever I feel like it. All I need is the 18 hours to grow the sponge.'s still going to be a time consuming effort, no matter which way you look at it. I don't care. This was GREAT! My husband and father in law thought so too.

Sauciness: I don't think of bread as particularly saucy. It's earthy. Not saucy. But not everything needs to be!

Overall pleasure rating: 10 out 10 for me. This was fabulous. I feel a huge sense of achievement for making my first sourdough and it was delicious. I served it with a big bowl of Moroccan Lamb Soup. Perfection!