I couldn’t believe it when my 1st attempt at trying to create a sour dough ‘mere’ actually worked!
Having read SO many different recipes, methods and opinions I was dreading the entire process, it all sounded so confusing.
It has been on my list of things to do for ever and with some culinary adventures happening at my Cookery School in Burgundy this September it was essential that I master the art before my students arrive.
One of our workshops this year is spending the day with an Organic baker creating traditional breads using ‘levain’ – (sour dough) and baking in a wood burning bread oven.
Once I read through my notes and was more confused then ever I finally threw the flour in the bowl and added the clean pure (no mineral) water and stirred, covered then left in my pantry for two days without even looking at it!
Two days passed and I finally peaked in and yes, there was definately a change, small bubbles, a faint odour of yeast and there was absolutely more in the bowl than before – could it be that it was working?
Second step – I followed the most favoured instructions, divided and fed the dough, covered and left for another 24 hrs, more bubbles appeared, it was growing!
Repeated for several days and on the 5 nothing! not a thing, flat as a pancake! Why, who knows?
Disheartened and as flat as the dough I took my students to Alexandre’s for a master baking lesson, where we rustled up some pretty awesome breads, pizza’s and brioche. It was a fabulous day and all of us were very proud of our achievements.
I left with a gift from Alexandre – a ‘souche’ from his 4 year old sour dough!
That was very kind of him, although I am not accustomed to total failure in the kitchen so was still feeling bruised about not creating my own.
However, on walking into the kitchen on our return I was met by a froth of activity from the discarded bowl of sour dough tossed in disgust into the sink before leaving that morning. It was ALIVE! Amazed and stunned I was as happy as if I’d been handed a lost kitten.
I am now obsesed with feeding it regularly, coaxing it into a volumous mass and am perfecting my sough dough breadmaking skills!
Sadly, I am definately worse than when I was feeding my babies, I’m up every 6 hours feeding it, letting it rest, feeding again, dividing, making bread, feeding again. Total madddness, it’s now like having a magic porridge pot on the go permanently.
So beware, budding sour dough bakers, unless there is an AA equivalent for SD Addicts, try and keep it real, or it will take over your life, kitchen table and freezer!