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Why I’m learning how to bake sourdough bread

One thing I like more than cooking is challenging myself. And preparing homemade sourdough bread has been a big challenge for me over the last few months. I’ve always loved bread and sourdough is my favourite to me, it is far richer in texture and flavour. But why? Good quality flours and natural fermentation are the answers. After some research, I realised we eat a lot of fermented food. Beer, wine, cheese, and also bread. So, I became curious about fermentation and started reading articles and following people who know about it. 

Lucky for me, in 2016 Netflix launched Cooked, a documentary series based on journalist Michael Pollan’s 2013 book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation about various methods of cooking and their impact on humans and culture throughout history. In the third episode, Pollan explores the science behind bread making and gluten, as well as the history of milling. The episode shows the relationship between wheat and humankind, and how both have evolved throughout time.

Another person who inspires me is Neide Rigo, a Brazilian nutritionist who owns Come-se, a blog where she shares her knowledge about bread, fermentation and a lot of interesting information about food. I learned from her how to prepare the sourdough starter and how to enhance bread results using home equipment. 

My first sourdough bread with homemade starter
After some testing, I realized it was going to be a long process from the starter to a perfect loaf of freshly baked bread. I decided to take a class to better understand the ingredients and the methods to improve my results.
My second sourdough bread
I enrolled in a bread baking experience day at Redbournbury Watermill and Bakery.  The watermill has a thousand years of history and produces a range of stoneground organic flours. There is a bakery where Steven Mansbridge bakes high quality breads and also teaches how to prepare them. It is a beautiful place to spend a day learning about bread. Steve knows what he does and kindly answered all questions I had. 
Breads baked at the Mill’s class
Now it is time to bring together everything I have learned and continue to improve my sourdough bread. 
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