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!
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!
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/
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. 🌟 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. 🌟 Just as the right size banneton is important, a good size pan is too. 🌟 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. 🌟 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. 🌟 Have fun!
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.
You can now find these exact bowls in the UK from here: EcoBakerUK
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
After years of seeing other people making beautiful pumpkin shaped breads, last year I finally decided it was my turn! It was great fun, and the baked loaves looked so cool, have you tried it yet?
I’ve made them now with plain doughs and flavoured doughs, using my baby master recipe quantities, banneton size and baking times, but you could also scale them up to full size. I’ve added step by step photos below of how to create the shape, plus the details of the flavoured versions.
If you do join in and make one, be sure to tag me if you post your bake online…I’d love to see it!
NOTE: You will need butchers twine string, and a cinnamon stick, or a stalk from a pepper/capsicum/squash/pumpkin.
To make your pumpkin loaf: follow my master recipe process up to step 6. By this step your dough should be in your banneton and have had several hours in the fridge to prove and firm up. When you are ready to bake, cut 4 strings long enough to tie across the dough.
Remove the cover from your banneton. Lay the strings evenly over the top of the banneton as above.
Place your parchment paper or pan liner over the top of the banneton and strings, and your pan over the top of both. Use both hands to turn it all over, keeping the strings in place.
Remove the banneton and prepared to tie the strings.
Making sure you are using corresponding ends of the strings, tie each one across the dough and tie firmly on the top.
Tie in bows that you will be able to undo later.
You can now score or not, totally up to you, see the version below for a scored option, then put the lid on your pan and bake as usual.
Once baked, remove the loaf carefully from the pan, place on a rack and undo the strings. Place the loaf back into your pan and bake, covered or uncovered, for a further 5-10 minutes to ensure it is baked through.
*from being compressed I have found that the loaves can be slightly undercooked if baked for the standard amount of time only, the extra time minus the strings ensures it’s not damp inside the ‘wedges’.
Add a ‘stalk’ for a fun presentation.
This was my first ever attempts, I continued to perfect it, using the same process, and playing with the dough, the possibilities are endless. Below is the base dough that I used…
My baby master dough quantities:
300g strong white bread flour
Salt to taste.
Made as per my standard process. Baked for 40-45 mins with strings, 5-10 mins extra once removed.
The basic recipe can be enhanced with added ingredients of your choice, dried fruits, seeds, chopped nuts, spices, alternative liquids. You can create whatever dough you like, then use the steps above to crate the pumpkin shape.
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.
This is the flour I use for this recipe here in the UK.
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.
The dough will be spongy and textured and will not take many pulls to bring it together.
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.
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.
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’.
🌟 if your dough is soft and sticky BEFORE the overnight prove, you probably need less water in your standard dough, or it’s due to the flour/s you’re using (more below);
🌟 if your dough is soft and sticky and impossible to handle AFTER the overnight prove, it’s probably over proved and you need less starter in the dough from the start next time….🌟
Some flours will produce stickier doughs as a standard, for example, an inclusion of a portion of rye flour, malted flour or einkorn flour in your dough will make it stickier, and that’s normal, just go with it and use a bowl scraper to work with the dough if necessary. I have lots of info and tips about these flours, and more, and how they feel and handle in doughs coming in my book. The key in this instance, is not to be concerned.
The time to worry about your dough is when it’s impossible to work with, but that’s all fixable, check out the FAQ page on my site for more help. In the end, all that matters is how the dough bakes; if your loaves are fab, don’t worry about how the dough looks/feels/behaves, just keep doing what you’re doing!
Note: if your dough has over proved it may look bubbly and exuberant like the one in the photo and/or may be impossible to handle and shape, in this case, use it to make focaccia 🌟🌟🌟 method in the recipe index on my site…ps this dough was fine, it’s just a flour that likes to bubble 🤩🤩