Bake the book…

🌟🌟 Group Bakes 🌟🌟

If you fancy joining me, the next few months, I propose that we work our way through the new book together. This will enable people to bake at their own level and pace, choose which recipe they want to bake and when, and share them along the way. Please ask questions and share outcomes.

Let’s start from the beginning with the master recipe collection; most of you have baked a version of my master recipe, some have baked several, I hope this will be your chance to try it in a different form. Happy baking gang!

🌟 Use the hashtags #thesourdoughwhisperer #groupbake when you share your bakes 🌟

The Master Recipe Sourdough Collection

Baby Master Loaf p72
Baby Master Wedge Rolls p74
Master Recipe Sandwich Loaf p77
Master Recipe Bundt Pan Loaf p81
Master Recipe Pullman Loaf p84
Ends of Bags Master Loaf p86

To help, these are the links to the various pans and items that I use:

Baby master pan

Pullman tin

Or this one

Loaf tin

Loaf tin liners

Bundt tin

Oval pan

8” Dough knife

All of the recipes in my book have been made and tested with this flour. If you cannot find it where you are, check out this page for alternatives.

NOTE: these are the exact items that I use, these are not ads, or affiliate links, I am not paid or sponsored by any of these sellers.

Find the book here.

Fancy joining me for lunch?

Who fancies joining me for lunch….? For a long time I’ve wanted to organise some kind of get together for lots of us to be able to meet in person, but the world has had other ideas….NOW we can do it…

So…I invite you to join me for…

🌟🌟🌟🌟 a day of ‘foodbod, flour and food’ 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Join me, and Bertie Matthews from Matthews Cotswold Flour, on 3rd May in the heart of the beautiful Cotswolds, just up the road from his flour mill. There will be us, and you, some short talks, but mostly a chance to mingle and meet us and one another and talk and chat and laugh and share IN PERSON finally, plus enjoy some fantastic food in a fabulous venue.

And, if that isn’t enough, there’s a chance of a mill tour (hence the glamorous photo of me when I was there!), and you’ll go away with a goodie bag filled with gifts from me, and the guys at Cotswold Flour, and a copy of delicious. magazine, and the chance to win one of our sourdough boxes.

How good does that sound???

So if you fancy joining us, use the link below to book your place. I can’t wait to meet lots of you!

Click here to book.

Please note that numbers are limited so please do grab a place if you want to come. If you would like to come but can’t on this occasion or plan to visit the UK at a later date, I promise that I will be planing more events later in the year, I want to meet as many of you as I can!

Hopefully see you there 🥰🥰🥰

Which book?

As the date for the release of my new book approaches I’ve been asked several times: ‘Which of your books should I buy?’

So if you’re wondering that, I thought I’d endeavour to provide an answer…

Both of my books are good for anyone starting out with sourdough, but they are also equally good for anyone who already makes sourdough as both have lots of different recipes and ideas.

My first book introduces sourdough and includes full details about what a starter is, and how to make one; it then goes into detail about wholegrain/wholemeal flours and ancient grains and heritage flours (spelt, emmer, einkorn, khorasan, rye), what they are, how they differ and how they behave in starters.

It then introduces my master recipe with lots of detail and answers all the questions you may have as you make sourdough. The book also discusses how the different flours will behave in doughs.

The recipes that follow include all of these flours too, in varying quantities, with tips about how the doughs will feel and behave, adding extras into doughs and handling doughs differently to make other things. They include full sized loaves, baby loaves, rolls, sandwich loaves, coil filled rolls, focaccia, same day recipes and crackers.

My new second book benefits from the fact that I’ve done even more sourdough making and baking in my kitchen since my first book, utilizing the help and guidance I’ve been able to give others. I learn more about this wonderful world daily and this is what I’ve worked hard to share.

This book also introduces sourdough and starters but goes into more detail about managing and using your starters. I spent a lot of time testing ideas, timescales and experimenting with my starters; pushing the boundaries of how I’ve used them in the past to be able to share different timetables and give you full confidence in using your starter.

This book also includes my master recipe, but with even more details and tips to help bakers with frequently asked questions, new timetables, and as much of information from my sourdough brain as I could download onto the page. It focuses on the freedom and confidence to know that the dough does not need to control you but that you are fully in control of the DOUGH, and how it to make that happen.

The recipes that follow are full of flavours, and shapes, and different timings. The recipes, all different from the first book, include full size loaves, baby loaves, enriched doughs, spices, fillings, same day recipes, focaccia, pizza, rolls, ciabatta, and more.

These books compliment one another, and both also work perfectly as stand alone books. Bakers do not need to have both – unless they want to of course 🙂

(You should find that the price of the first one is reduced now that there’s a new one coming too, and the new one will have offers on, so you could always get both if you don’t already have the first one… 😉☺️)

I hope this helps, if you have any further questions, please do contact me xx

New book: https://foodbodsourdough.com/my-new-book/

Current book: https://foodbodsourdough.com/my-book/

Is your pan big enough?

Todays top tip: if your pan is too small for your dough, your loaves will not bake properly.

Once again, in this instance, size matters; the size of your pan makes a big difference to your baked loaf.
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Let me explain why I’m posting this… Recently I’ve been contacted by a few bakers who have found that their loaves aren’t baking fully all the way through, or are soft and under baked round the sides, and sometimes also the base, of their loaves. In each case, the reason this has happened is because the pan has been too small for baking the loaves. What this means is that all the wonderful work you’ve done to create your starter and then to build a lovely strong dough, is that the dough can’t spread its wonderful wings and grow sufficiently so it get stunted and stopped in its tracks and therefore underbaked. The limited space means that the steam and heat can’t circle the dough which it needs to bake it evenly; plus the dough being inhibited by being in a small space means it gets compacted so the inside doesn’t get fully baked.
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Just as the right size banneton is important, a good size pan is too.
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If you feel your loaves are not baking fully, the top 5 reasons will be…

They need to be baked for longer: try adding an extra 5-10 mins to the bake.
The dough was too wet: next time use 25g less water in your dough.
The dough was over proved: watch the time and temp you’re proving at.
The dough was under proved: give the dough more time to prove.
The pan is too small: ensure your loaf isn’t hitting the sides of the pan or the underneath of the lid.

For info: I use my standard master recipe dough with a 21-22cm diameter banneton and a 26cm diameter enamel pan. You’ll find full details on my equipment page.

There’s more help about all of these issues throughout my site and in my books.
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To answer the other question of ‘is my pan too big?’, the answer is no, a pan can never be too big. If you are asking that because your dough spreads in the pan, the issue is the dough, not the pan. Your dough should happily hold its shape when you turn it out into the pan, and not rely on the pan to hold it. I have a post fully explaining why your dough may spread here.
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Have fun!

A simple tool for judging if your dough is fully proved…

If you’ve ever asked me ‘how do I know when my dough is fully proved?’ this is for you….

If you know anything about me and my sourdough world, you will know that keeping things simple is my main driving force; sourdough can be made as simply as you choose to make it, and I work very hard to make it as simple as possible for me, and for anyone who uses my ways…

Once question I am asked a lot is ‘how do I know when my dough is fully proved?’.

The simple answer is: look for it to double in size. But I know that that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

So, the even SIMPLER answer is this: do what I do, and use a perfect sized bowl to help you judge it!

Yes. Use whatever tools you can to make life easy, and a perfectly sized bowl takes the guess work out of judging the growth of your dough completely. And that’s what these bowls do.

Let me explain….this didn’t happen by design, I just ordered some new bowls one day and along came this one. The more I used it, the more I realised how useful it was. It is PERFECT for making my master recipe, in more ways than one. When I make my standard full size dough, I look for my dough to almost fill the bowl (obviously I also want it to be sufficiently structured and well proved too); when I make my baby master doughs, I want the dough to be level with the second groove engraved in the side of the bowl. If the dough under or over proves the bowl also helps to judge that.

As I say, this has been a happy accident, I didn’t choose the bowls for this reason, but it has all fallen into place. I now own 12 of these bowls, they stack perfectly, and I use them all over and over again. You don’t need as many as me, I have so many for my courses, but I highly recommend you give them a go. Again, this is the kind of helpful, simple foodbod advice, you will find in my new book.

My lovely guys at EcoBaker are now stocking these exact bowls so that you can find them easily, I’ve added the link here. (You’ll find my book there too 😉)

🌟🌟🌟🌟 NOTE: if you are overseas please email Phil or Andy directly for shipping assistance at..

sales@ecobaker.co.uk

Simplicity, all the way.

‘Why does my dough spread?’

One of the questions I am asked the most is:

why does my dough spread?

Or, why are my loaves so flat?

Which often goes hand in hand with ‘I really struggle to score my dough’.

If that’s you, read on…

All of these issues can be easily fixed, and will be because your dough is very soft, can’t hold its shape, and therefore spreads, it will be impossible to score successfully, or even you can score it, the scores close up. Typically, this is because your dough is not firm enough.

The key reasons for this are, either:

⁃ your flour was not strong enough for the dough to hold its shape,

⁃ there was too much water in your dough for the flour you’re using,

⁃ you are not building up enough structure in your dough during the pulls and folds actions (they do make a difference),

⁃ you are not pulling your dough together tightly enough when placing it into your banneton; this video will help,

⁃ or the dough is over proving and therefore losing any structure,

Also note that if your banneton is too big for your dough your loaf will be wide and flat.

There’s answers, help and solutions for you throughout my book, posts and on my faq page.

But the key thing to know is, it’s always an easy fix… AND, as always, all that matters is how your loaves taste!

My rule of thumb is this: if your dough is soft and sticky BEFORE the overnight prove, you probably need less water in your dough; if it’s soft and sticky AFTER the overnight prove, it’s probably over proved and you need less starter in the dough from the beginning, or to move your dough to cooler spot.

On this website you will find no ads, no pop-ups, and no sponsorships. You will find only freely given recipes, information, guidance and help. If you like my site and would like to ‘buy me a cup of tea’ that would be lovely. Thank you xx

100% spelt sourdough loaf…

Spelt flour is a beautiful flour to use and produces an amazingly tasty loaf. It is not, however, a straightforward flour to use and benefits from being baked in a loaf tin to give it support. To make this loaf, I followed my master recipe process to make the dough and the process for making sandwich loaves as in my book.

Ingredients

50g starter (I used my spelt starter, see below)

350g water

500g wholemeal spelt flour

1 tsp salt

Method

To make the dough, follow my usual master recipe process as written on my site or in my book, mixing everything up together mid/late afternoon. It may seem dry initially but it does not need extra water, go in with your hands and squeeze the mixture together, so that there is no dry flour left.

Then cover the bowl with your shower cap/cover, and leave it on the counter for 2 hours, this rest time will make it easier to stretch the dough later.

After 2 hours, do a set of stretches and folds on the dough. Wholemeal flour is oily and does not stick to the bowl which also means that when you try to stretch it, the whole dough will lift out of the bowl so I hold the dough in place with one hand, lift a portion with the other hand, pull it up and tuck it over the dough. Do this a few times round the bowl.

This will be a stiff, spongy mix.

Cover the bowl again, let it sit for 1 hour then repeat the stretches. It will only need a few actions.

Do this twice more then cover the dough again and leave it on the counter overnight.

In the morning the dough will have grown to double the size with a smoothish surface.

View of the top of the bowl
View from the side

This now needs to be pulled together to go into the tin. This video shows how I do it: https://youtu.be/DHp-TXjLGp0

The dough will be spongy and textured and will not take many pulls to bring it together.

Ready for the next prove

Once it is in the tin as per the video, cover it again, and leave it on the counter.

Let the dough prove again. Once it is level with the edge of the tin, bake.

After several hours on the counter
Ready to bake

This can be done from a cold start; place the tin with the dough in, uncovered, into the cold oven. Turn the oven up to 180C fan/200C non fan and bake for 45 mins from the time you placed it into the oven.

The loaf will not grow much more as it bakes, the growth is all in the proving, the baking merely consolidates that.

Once baked, remove from the pan, tap the base, and if it sounds hollow, remove the paper and cool on a rack for a good hour at least. If you feel it needs baking for longer, put it back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes.

Baked and fresh from the oven

These loaves tend to feel slightly moist which is normal.

To make this loaf I used a wholemeal/wholewheat starter too to make this a 100% spelt loaf…

To make your own, follow my guide for making a starter on my site or in my book, exactly as it’s written, just using wholemeal/wholewheat spelt flour. Please note that you can use any type of starter made with any flour, if you want to keep the loaf fully spelt, below are some notes about making a wholemeal/wholewheat spelt flour starter.

Day 1: this will be a thick first mix

Day 2: this will still be a thick mix, but not as much as day 1. There may be a slight liquid forming on surface, this is normal

Day 3: you may see bubbles forming on surface and throughout the mixture, it will have an elastic, thick, bouncy consistency

When you feed it it will be thick, maybe already showing bubbles after mixing and stirring

Over next 24 hours, you should see bubbles appearing, the texture becoming almost spongy, and the volume starting to grow, and a strong wheaty smell developing

Days 4 & 5: the mix will be thick, elastic and textured

Day 6: you will notice a strong smell when the starter is stirred, this is normal, and typical of wholegrain flours. It should also now be textured, bubbly, and thick before feeding

And lovely and thicker after feeding. Bubbles may be appearing as soon as fed and stirred

Day 7: it should be responding to its feed and growing and becoming textured with a bubbly surface.

Note that with wholegrain flours, any show of dark liquid on the surface or around the edges is normal.

I hope you enjoy creating your own wholemeal/wholewheat spelt starter and loaf, and enjoy the fabulous flavour! For more ideas about using spelt flour, and lots more wholegrain and ancient grain flours, check out my book ‘Whole Grain Sourdough at Home’.