Although it’s not from my front yard, really one of my main aims is to try to be as self sufficient as I can – so over the past year I’ve been making my own bread. I had a bread maker prior to this, however I was never happy with the results (overcooked/undercooked & generally inconsistent). I took a bread making class with a friend last year – loved it & never looked back! I’ve found I get a lot more reliable results from making bread by hand, and I also find the kneading process quite fun (and a tad therapeutic!) Not only does the house smell great while the bread is baking but I also know exactly what is in, and more importantly, what is not in my bread.

After the class my friend and I both tried to make sourdough – and I have to admit I was pretty envious of the loaves she ended up with compared to my many, many bricks… The standard loaves seemed to work fine but I just couldn’t get the hang of sourdough and eventually I threw out my starter (leaven). I’m not quite sure what drove me to try again – but this week I thought I’d give sourdough another go. I started making the leaven last weekend and have been pretty good at feeding it every day (I may have been a tad neglectful last time). By this weekend it was looking pretty healthy.

My sourdough starter (leaven) showing signs of activity

Given all my previous failures I wasn’t sure which recipe to try, so I decide to try three different recipes & see what worked. I picked two white sourdoughs (which I ended up making as half white/half wholemeal) and a half white/half rye all from different recipes. I’d forgotten how long sourdough takes compared to standard bread – each requiring around 6 hours of proving time in total, but worth it in the end. Along the way I had my doubts that any were going to work, hoping for at least one – but all three rose!

Unfortunately when I cut them open this morning one white was undercooked, however the other white and rye worked really well. I’m so pleased I gave it another go and proved to myself that I can make bread from simple beginnings of flour and water. I might experiment around again in the next few weeks and see what else I can create. Spending all morning eating bread trying to work out which loaf came in at number one – probably the best part of the whole experiment…

Rye

White/wholemeal sourdough

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