This is my living breathing sourdough starter. Di-dough has a nameless predecessor who I managed to kill by starvation. I neglected the poor beastie during the time when Hot Stuff and I were commuting between homes. No wonder I forgot to feed her. However one of her orphan children, Dough-lene is still going strong in a relative’s house. That’s one of the lovely thing about sourdough starters. A bit of them can be gifted to other wannabe boulangers.

There is a lot of mystique about sourdough, perhaps peddled by the artisan bakers who sell loaves for the price of a small car. However we’ve found that it’s reasonably simple to rustle up bready products of your own. Di-dough began her life as bread flour mixed with water in a kilner jar with the lid left open. It was about a quarter full. The consistency was akin to that flour and water glue that Mum used to make for childhood crafting.

After a couple of days the magic happens. Yeast in the air flies in. When bubbles appear the jar can be closed minus its rubber seal. The starter needs to be fed every couple of days by mixing in a couple more spoonfuls of flour. We top it up with water as well when it starts to get too gloopy. The jar gets cleaned every so often. Di-dough gets decanted out while we do that. I think that she feels better for it.

When we make the dough we pour a generous glug of the starter in our Kenwood Chef bowl and add flour, water and salt. Sorry I can’t comment on the quantities. We do it by eye but I’m sure that there is a recipe out there for those who need it. Once the dough is made it’s just a question of waiting. Twice! There’s a second rise after the dough has been shaped into rolls, loaf or pizza base. The process is longer than with a normal yeast dough.

It’s a good little project for ‘working at home’ days. I’ll made up the dough when I get up in the morning, form the loaf, rolls or pizza base halfway through the afternoon while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil for a cuppa. Then I’ll become the baking fairy at supper time. Sometimes I’ll shift the timescale and there’s an overnight rise ready for hot bacon rolls i the morning.

The post is scattered with some that I made earlier plus a random pinata. I’d bought that for a weekend away with a bunch of kids. Everything, aside from the cardboard donkey, gets cooked at around 200 degrees celsius. The rolls and pizza take about fifteen minutes, the loaves about half hour. Like all home baked bread it needs to be eaten quite quickly but that’s not usually a problem. Occasionally a roll or two goes into the freezer. On a chilly note I forgot to say that Di-dough goes to sleep in the fridge when we go on holiday. She doesn’t need to be fed in hibernation!

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  1. I’ve never attempted to keep starter going, but yes, the prices if bought from a bakery should would give incentive! I make yeast bread quite a bit, but there is something about sour dough bread for toast or sandwiches that makes the ordinary special.

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