first loaf of bread I baked almost two years ago, I've got pretty good at it. The same old recipe that is. I've baked it over and over, and it's very nice, but I'm a bit bored of making it and it's not real sourdough with that wonderful flavour. I got the recipe from the cookbook that came with our KitchenAid mixer and it uses a 'starter' made from dried packet yeast, flour and water and left for a few days, rather than one that comes from a proper starter with natural yeasts that have been loved and cared for over months and years. I've also made focaccia, a heavy Hunsruecker Bauernbrot and a bread made with dark beer, but, well, it was time to expand the repertoire. So when I met Kate from the Garden Shed and Pantry at the Cygnet Market recently and saw that she was collecting email addresses of people interested in doing a class on sourdough making, I signed up immediately.
Last night at 7pm we gathered in Kate's kitchen and learned the basics of sourdough making. We carefully measured out our ingredients and mixed our dough for the first rising. The whole thing is amazingly simple. We learned about the equipment and ingredients as well as the process and timing.
At 9am this morning, we were back in the kitchen for the next step. The classes are timed for optimal rising time depending on the time of year. We prepared our dough for the 'second rising' (which Kate took care to point out is not a religious experience) and observed as she baked a loaf prepared earlier in a cast iron pot. It looked fantastic when it came out of the oven, as I'm sure you'll agree:
Each of us took home our prepared loaf ready to put into the oven an hour later, plus a bag full of the ingredients needed to make our next loaf. Kate also sells a variety of flours, pastas and other pantry items, and I bought some kalamata olives which I am looking forward to marinating, and a bottle of sunflower oil - not the bland stuff that comes in two litre plastic bottles at the supermarket, but the beautiful hand made tasty variety. As a bonus, we got to meet our fellow sourdough students, including another lovely local blogger who has recently moved to the Huon Valley. It's brilliant how many people in our local community we have first 'met' via Twitter or their blogs.