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Cherie’s review of me and my book…

As you read this review, I invite you to imagine Cherie’s wonderful Northern Irish accent as you read her words…she makes everything sound wonderful as she speaks…

Cherie says:

“I tried making a sourdough starter seven times and seven times I threw it out.

The more I tried to get it right, the more frustrated I became when it went badly wrong. I tried the “organic apple skin in the starter to bring in the wild yeasts” method; I tried the “organic grapes in the starter” method; and I tried the “very expensive spring water” method. Every single one was a disaster but then, THEN I “insta met” Elaine on Instagram (@elaine_foodbod) and my sourdough life took a wonderful turn.

I promise you it was an epiphany! The mystery, the fear, the nonsense was taken out of sourdough making for me by Elaine and it was just FANNNNTASTIC!!!!

My starter – Esther, named after my Mummy, lives in my fridge until I need her. I take her out, she warms up, gets fed, bubbles and rises and I swear she calls to me to say she’s ready. At this point I’ve made a dough with her and I’ve dried some of her on sheets so that I’ll always have her.

I love Elaine’s tip of “pour tap water, let the chlorine evaporate off overnight and use as normal”. I mean every other recipe was basically saying “use water blessed by 25 Saints at £20 a bottle”. It was a huge thing to me as I had bought so much expensive spring water in the quest for an edible loaf, beautiful looking, beautiful tasting and ready for an instagram debut.

Elaine talked me through a few hiccups along the way…basically because I could not believe things were actually working and effortlessly so.

I never tire of lifting the lid off my pot to see what’s happened in the oven…and the “baking starting in a cold oven!!!!!!” Flip me….. a revelation! I now bake sourdough bread for anyone I can!

Due to Elaine’s informative, easy to follow and great photos in her book I now mix nuts, prunes, raisins, oats, seeds, bacon & cheese into my doughs (but not all at the same time).

Filled with dried fruits

I make cinnamon buns with Elaine’s enriched starter recipe and they are beautiful. Through Elaine I “insta met” Ahren @thegarlictun…his lames are fabulous and my bread took on another new, more grownup look.

Using Elaine’s enriched sourdough recipe

Elaine and her book have taught me so much about grains, what can go into a dough, stretching and folding and MOST IMPORTANTLY relaxing into sourdough making life.

I cannot thank Elaine enough for fixing my sourdough problems she’s so calm gentle and kind. I’ve conquered sourdough, made lots of lovely different breads and made a friend. How lucky I say!

THANK YOU ELAINE XX”

Find Cherie on Instagram @cheriedenhamcooks and enjoy more of her lovely creations!

I even took my starter on holiday and baked this in an unknown oven!

Karin’s review…

“I am a professional Chef/Instructor and have been baking sourdough bread for years.

Today I put all my “old habits” aside and followed, word for word, Elaine’s Master Recipe from her new book, “Whole Grain Sourdough at Home”.

In one weekend I created three of the loveliest loaves of sourdough I have ever baked in my life. Not only were they beautiful on the outside – golden brown and sky high with beautiful little “ears”, blisters, and banneton swirls, but they tasted out of this world. Crunchy, flakey crusts with chewy and airy pockets of soft bread inside.

Thank you, Elaine!”

Chef Karin J. Davis

Sturgis, MI

Janice’s book review…

Elaine’s quinoa loaf, from the book

I was very kindly gifted a copy of the wonderful Elaine’s new sourdough book, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough!

Elaine is a wealth of knowledge on all things sourdough and explains things in such a simple and straightforward way.

We both agree that sourdough is not about perfection, its about creating delicious nutritious bread using a sourdough starter, and believe me sourdough is the best bread on the planet, and learning to make your own is a skill worth acquiring!

The inside view

Elaine explains everything you need to know, including how to make a sourdough starter from scratch, equipment choices, and using ancient flours.

Recipes include soft and pillowy sandwich bread, gorgeous foccacia, sourdough scones, crackers, rolls and lots of sourdough loaves using different flours.

There is way more to sourdough than white holey bread!! Its so versatile and Elaine’s book is the only book you will need so do yourself a favour and buy yourself a copy!

She shares so many great ideas and is a sourdough wizard!! I have learned so much from her, she is just the best! 💕💕💕

Janice Clyne, Nourished by Nature food blog

Elaine’s rye and coconut loaf, from the new book

My enriched foodbod master recipe sourdough…

I’m so excited about this post, I’ve really enjoyed making and testing these loaves…I hope you like it too!

Every bread in this post has been made using my master recipe to create enriched doughs and loaves…they’re beautiful and shiny and they smell amazing; the texture of the bread is light, soft, not too rich, not too sweet, and with a hint of our joyful sourdough flavour…I’ve played with flours and shapes and pans, and have had great fun creating my ‘enriched master recipe sourdough’…

This loaf was made using the lighter version of the dough below, and with half strong white bread flour and half white spelt flour. Before and after shots of the bake below.
Soft and fluffy interior.
A slice of the above loaf.

The doughs are all enriched with eggs, milk, butter and honey. This is a very very tasty sourdough creation! Its great eaten on it’s own, as well as with your choice of toppings, and smells amazing all over again when toasted. And no mixer required, even better!

This loaf was made using the richer version of the dough below with my usual Star and with 100% white spelt flour.
The end shot of the loaf above.

I have tested this several times recently and it worked perfectly with just strong white bread flour, a mix of SWBF and white spelt flour, and with 100% white spelt flour. Each version has been a success, the white spelt flour adding a silkiness to the dough that’s lovely to work with, as well as a lightness to the crumb.

This loaf was made with the richer version of the dough below and 100% white spelt flour. Once baked I brushed with it butter and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
The inside of the loaf above.

NOTES:

🌟 The added dairy products do not go bad during the overnight prove, the dough is protected by the starter.

🌟 The butter only needs to be softened, not fully melted. If you do melt it, ensure it is cool before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.

🌟 The softened butter does not need to be fully mixed through the dough initially, it will soften more and become fully incorporated as your work with the dough.

🌟 This is a heavy slow dough, allow it time to grow fully.

🌟 It’s also a dough that requires very little shaping.

🌟 It keeps well for a week if wrapped well.

🌟 I don’t like things very sweet; for us, chief taster included, the 50g honey in the recipe was perfect. If you prefer things sweeter, replace it with sugar, quantity of your choice.

🌟 I have made two slightly different versions of this, one a little richer than the other, and I like both. You can tone things down, or up, as you choose.

🌟 You can choose your own version, using the flour/s of your choice, and all or just one to two of the added ingredients. It works whichever options you choose.

🌟 For dietary alternatives, use no eggs or egg replacements/non dairy milk/no butter or a dairy free option.

🌟 I made the round loaf in my 20cm diameter enamel roaster (above) and the rectangular loaf in a large loaf tin (27cm x 17cm/10.5” x 6.5”). You can use a standard 2 lb loaf tin too.

🌟🌟🌟 My master recipe strikes again! 🌟🌟🌟

Slices of the loaf tin loaf from above.

Ingredients

50g active starter

1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk (save the white) + milk to make up a total of 350g (I use semi skimmed/half fat milk)

75g softened butter

50g runny honey

500g strong white bread flour OR 250g SWBF + 250g white spelt flour OR 500g white spelt flour

1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste

Alternative slightly lighter option:

50g active starter

1 whole egg + milk to make up a total of 350g

50g softened butter

50g runny honey

500g strong white bread flour OR 250g SWBF + 250g white spelt flour OR 500g white spelt flour

1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste

As per my master recipe (for full step by step directions click on the link to the left):

Feed your starter as normal to generate the 50g needed for the recipe.

Begin mixing the dough in the evening.

Roughly mix all of the ingredients: it will be very sticky.

After an hour, perform the first set of pulls and folds on the dough. Lifting and pulling the dough across the bowl until it starts to come into a soft ball then stop. Cover the bowl again and leave it to sit.

During this first set of pulls and folds the dough will still be sticky but keep working with it.

After an hour, perform the second set.

During this set of pulls and folds, the dough will start to become smooth and silky (esp if it’s 100% white spelt flour) and will take less actions to pull it into a ball. Cover and leave to sit.

Over the next hour or so, perform the third, and fourth set if you do one, the dough should be nice to handle now. Each time stop when the dough comes into a loose ball.

Cover and leave to prove on the counter overnight as usual.

Next morning the dough will typically have grown, but not yet doubled, allow it 2-3 more hours if it needs more time.

Line a tin with baking parchment paper or a loaf tin liner.

Pull the dough together, it does not need to be handled much, it doesn’t need to be too tight, this will be a stiff heavy dough, and place it hand side down/smooth side up into your liner.

Cover again and leave to prove on the counter again until the dough is level with the edge of the pan, typically 3-4 hours.

Mix the egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush the top of the dough gently with it.

Bake, uncovered, from a cold start at 160C fan/convection, or 180C non fan/convention oven, for 45 mins, covering if the top becomes too dark.

Remove from the oven, and the tin and allow to cool.

Enjoy!

Braided and hand shaped loaf using dough made with half strong white bread flour and half white spelt flour
Dough made with the lighter version of the above options and made with half strong white bread flour and half white spelt flour.
Slices of the inside of the baked loaf above.

To use the dough to create shaped doughs, refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours after the overnight prove to firm it up, then turn it out, portion it and shape it as you choose before covering it again and leaving it to prove again for 3-4 hours, then bake as above.

Dough split into 6 equal pieces (by eye), shaped into balls and placed together inside the lined pan and allowed to prove again before baking. You could also bake them separately to make rolls.
The baked loaf.

🌟🌟🌟 It really is true, you can use my master recipe as a base for anything you want to create! 🌟🌟🌟

For lots more inspiration, check out my foodbod enriched sourdough collection for lots of amazing enriched creations.

My dedicated enriched sourdough blog

How to score dough successfully…

From this…
To this 🙂

There are some key tips to scoring, but first, why do we do it at all?

Scoring dough has two main jobs, firstly, it allows and encourages growth in your loaf by enabling the dough to expand as it bakes. Because it will expand, but if it isn’t scored, it won’t expand as much as it would like to and it will inhibit the size of the baked loaf.

If you don’t score your dough there’s also every chance it will crack as it bakes anyway and possibly blow out at the sides, so why not encourage it to grow as you’d like it to instead?

Secondly, it allows you to choose how your loaf will look once baked.

By scoring your dough with a single slash, you will encourage a more dramatic opening (assuming a good strong dough).

Before..
And after.

By scoring a more intricate and involved design you allow the dough to grow evenly and protect the design.

Before…
And after.

So here’s my top tips…

*The blade needs to be thin and very sharp, ideally a razor blade. By using a bread lame this gives you a safe handle for your blade, but it’s not a necessity. Nice to have though, I love all of mine 🙂

*Your dough needs to be firm. This is achieved by having a dough made with the right amount of water for your flour choice, and proved well. You’ll find help with this on my FAQ page.

*If you want to give yourself a slightly firmer surface to score, place your banneton full of dough into the freezer for 30 minutes before turning it out, scoring and baking. (If your dough is too wet or over proved, it is likely to still spread even with this tip).

*A nice firm dough also allows you to take your time as it will hold its shape whilst you score. No need to super fast slash-and-get-it-into-the -oven as fast as possible!

*By not preheating your pan (which I never do) you also make this part of the process smoother as you’re not moving the dough around so much. I turn my dough out into my cold pan, take my time scoring, then into my cold oven and bake – a nice relaxed process.

*Score into the dough 0.5-1.0cm deep.

*Score firmly, but without pushing the dough down into itself.

*I always score from the outside towards the middle when unless I’m making a pattern, this way you don’t risk squashing the dough or dragging the blade.

*If your blade is dragging, try changing it for a new blade, or making sure your dough is firm enough to score.

*How you score can affect the final shape of your dough as hopefully my photos have shown. Sorry, I don’t have any bad examples to make the point!

*As always, there is no right or wrong here, and the best way to learn is via trial and error.

*Personally, I like the lines that the rice flour in the banneton leave, if you’re not a a fan, lightly brush is off.

I have various videos on my YouTube channel and Instagram showing scoring.

Here’s some ideas from my past loaves..

Before
After.
Personally I like it when designs crack and burst,
I like seeing that power in my dough!
Before
After.
Before..
After.

Have fun, and happy scoring!

Talking about dough…

Amazing, beautiful dough…I love seeing this! This is a shot of the underneath of my bowl of dough following it’s overnight prove, the dough has risen and more than doubled in size and you can see the texture all the way through the dough. It’s a joy every time I wake up to a sight like this, it never ever gets boring!

So, here are some notes to keep in mind regarding dough…

🌟 for everyone who has asked me if their starter is strong enough: if your dough is growing and doubling, your starter is fine and working well

🌟 if your dough isn’t growing, it’s either because it’s been cold, see below, or your starter needs a boost, see my site for details

🌟 all doughs are different due to different flours, different temperatures, different environments and different handling

🌟 if it’s been cold overnight and your dough hasn’t doubled, it’s normal, temperatures under 18C/64F will slow the growth down; just give it longer in the morning to do its work

🌟 under proved dough will result in a dense loaf with large uneven holes, but it will still taste good!

🌟 if it’s been warm overnight, well over 20C/70F your dough will grow and possible double and look volcanic and fabulous, however, it risks over proving and losing all structure and integrity, it will be soft and sloppy and impossible to work with

🌟 over proved dough will result in a flat dense bake, but it will also still taste good!

🌟 to combat high temps either read the baking timetable on my site or use less starter in your dough

🌟 when you handle your dough after it’s main bulk prove, it should feel bouncy and have some nice resistance

🌟 my best tip is: learn to watch your dough and not the clock; your dough well tell you what’s happening and what you need to change, if anything, and,

🌟 get to know your starter

🌟 get to know your flours and your doughs

🌟 get to know how sourdough works in YOUR home

🌟 Make notes, jot down times and temperatures, flours and behaviours and create your own reference guide.

🌟 Happy baking! 🌟

Talking about dough…

Amazing, beautiful dough…I love seeing this! This is a shot of the underneath of my bowl of dough following it’s overnight prove, the dough has risen and more than doubled in size and you can see the texture all the way through the dough. It’s a joy every time I wake up to a sight like this, it never ever gets boring!

So, here are some notes to keep in mind regarding dough…

🌟 for everyone who has asked me if their starter is strong enough: if your dough is growing and doubling, your starter is fine and working well

🌟 if your dough isn’t growing, it’s either because it’s been cold, see below, or your starter needs a boost, see my site for details

🌟 all doughs are different due to different flours, different temperatures, different environments and different handling

🌟 if it’s been cold overnight and your dough hasn’t doubled, it’s normal, temperatures under 18C/64F will slow the growth down; just give it longer in the morning to do its work

🌟 under proved dough will result in a dense loaf with large uneven holes, but it will still taste good!

🌟 if it’s been warm overnight, well over 20C/70F your dough will grow and possible double and look volcanic and fabulous, however, it risks over proving and losing all structure and integrity, it will be soft and sloppy and impossible to work with

🌟 over proved dough will result in a flat dense bake, but it will also still taste good!

🌟 to combat high temps either read the baking timetable on my site or use less starter in your dough

🌟 when you handle your dough after it’s main bulk prove, it should feel bouncy and have some nice resistance

🌟 my best tip is: learn to watch your dough and not the clock; your dough well tell you what’s happening and what you need to change, if anything, and,

🌟 get to know your starter

🌟 get to know your flours and your doughs

🌟 get to know how sourdough works in YOUR home

🌟 Make notes, jot down times and temperatures, flours and behaviours and create your own reference guide.

🌟 Happy baking! 🌟