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

My breakfast mix loaf…

I’ll be honest, I absolutely love this loaf; the smell, texture and flavour is wonderful! I’ve made a small version before but this time I made a full sized loaf…

I made this loaf with dough that I added a portion of my breakfast mix to. My breakfast mix is packed with oats, seeds and spices, hence the amazing colour from the turmeric, so this loaf is packed with character, as well as the goodness of sourdough and the benefits of all those added ingredients. It is literally a loaf full of fabulousness and goodness!

Here’s what I did:

🌟 I used my master recipe with 400g of type 00 flour (you can use bread flour) with 100g of my breakfast mix (below) to make it up to my usual 500g. I did everything else the same as usual.

🌟 I proved the dough on the counter for a total of 17 hours, this can be a slow dough to prove due to the dough being heavy, the effect of the spices on the dough. Watch it and allow it time to double in size but don’t worry if it takes longer than you’re used to.

🌟 I then pulled the dough together into a ball, rolled it in oats and placed it into my banneton and into the fridge. This video shows how I add the oats for the crust.

🌟 I turned it out, scored and baked it from a cold start 12 hours later. And here it is….

And here’s the inside view…you can see the colour the spices added and peeks of some of the seeds…

My breakfast mix is something I put together in large batches to eat as porridge every morning. I don’t measure it so this is a guide by eye and memory based on filling a large jar:

🌟 70% oats (I use a mix of rolled and thick cut/steel cut oats)

🌟 15% mixed roasted seeds (I use pumpkin, sunflower and linseeds)

🌟 10% milled flaxseeds

🌟 5% my spice mix

Sometimes I throw in chopped roasted nuts or toasted flaked almonds, depending what takes my fancy and what’s it my cupboard.

For the spice mix, again, I never measure out any of the spices, so this is a guide based on what I put in a jar and then shake it up to mix it:

🌟 60% ground cinnamon

🌟 15% ground ginger

🌟 10% ground turmeric

🌟 5% ground nutmeg

🌟 5% ground cardamom

🌟 5% ground cloves & ground black pepper

If you try it, I hope you like it!

My master recipe sourdough pizza…

This recipe uses the dough created using my master recipe process and then using it to create the pizza of your choice; the dough can be made up of the flour/s of your choice to create different flavours & textures…

The outcome being a lovely textured, holey, tasty pizza base!

The key is how to manage and store the overnight dough ready for when you want your pizzas. I have got 2 methods below, each designed to make it simple to fit the dough in with your timings, and not the other way round!

Method 1.

The morning after the overnight prove, you will hopefully have a lovely big bowl of bubbly dough; if it is escaping the bowl, gently do a single set of pulls and folds, just go once round the bowl, to pull it loosely together, re-cover it, and place it in the fridge. If the dough hasn’t reached the top of the bowl already, just place it in the fridge to bring the activity to a halt until you want to use it.

When you know when you want your pizzas to be ready for, remove the dough from the fridge an hour or so beforehand and let it warm up a bit.

Cover your work surface with water, flour or olive oil, I use water.

Turn the dough out from the bowl onto your surface and cut into portions, 2, 4 or 6, depending how big you would like your pizzas to be.

Let it sit for 10 minutes.

**I use a foil lined baking tray to cook my pizzas, liberally drizzled with olive oil (I like the crust it generates when baked). However, you may prefer using semolina, polenta/corn meal, flour, whatever your choice under the dough, directly onto your baking tray or baking implement of your choice. If you’re using a pizza stone, prepare the dough on a board or tray ready to be able to move it across to your stone as you usually do.

After 10 minutes place the dough on your chosen bakeware, and start to gently use your finger tips to push the dough out into a thinner rounder shape, or shape of your choice. You will need to let it sit for a few minutes and then do it again as the dough will bounce back.

Preheat the oven to 220C fan/240 non fan/460F.

Give your dough one final push out, spread with sauce of your choice and toppings of your choice, and bake for 12-15 minutes until the base is cooked and the cheese is bubbling.

Enjoy!

Method 2.

In the morning you will hopefully have a lovely big bowl of dough. Cover your work surface in flour, water or oil, and turn the dough out onto the surface. I use water at this point.

Prepare your baking tray, I drizzle olive oil over my foil lined tray as stated above.

Portion the dough into 2, 4 or 6 pieces.

Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Place the pieces onto your prepared baking tray and use your fingers tips to push it gently out into a round; it will want to bounce back so let it set for a while and do it again.

Once you’ve got it pushed out to the thinness and size that you want, cover the whole tray with a large plastic bag, or place cling film over the dough, and put the whole tray in the fridge.

It can now sit in there until you want to use it, I’ve let mine sit in the fridge all day in the past.

**The top 2 photos in the collage below show the dough before and after being in the fridge. As you can see, the dough continued to work in the cold – my SuperStar in action!

You can now use this dough directly from the fridge, you don’t need to let it warm up or come to room temperature, you can just add your toppings and bake.

If you’re more comfortable letting it come to room temperature before baking you can do that too.

Preheat the oven to 220C fan/240 non fan/460F, and bake for 12-15 minutes until the base is cooked and the cheese is bubbling.

Enjoy!

Beautiful blistered base, and it tastes SOOOO good!

And a view of the cooked base…

I love the crust that the olive oil creates, added to the soft interior.

I hope you like my method and find it useful, and user & life friendly xx

Creating sourdough with Mrs Middletons beautiful flour…

Mrs Middleton is actually a lovely lady called Whizz, and Whizz’s farm is very very close to where I live. For several years Whizz has sold a lovely light rapeseed oil made from her own crops, and recently she also started to sell flour from wheat grown on her land and milled at a local historical mill. This flour therefore is grown and milled very close to where I live and therefore sits it firmly in my heart.

Whizz produces just two flours as shown above, and I love the plain natural white stoneground flour; but do not be fooled, this is not what you would think of as ‘plain flour’. This flour is 13% protein and therefore perfect for bread making. It also has a slight pink tint to the flour which bakes to a light brown, and it’s not just the colour that behaves like a wholemeal/whole wheat; this flour takes up a lot of water, which you have to take into account, and bakes to a gloriously flavoured textured loaf.

If used solely, the loaf will be quite dense and heavy unless you add extra water, which is what I did for the first 2 photos of this post; or, I lift it with some white spelt flour and it works perfectly, as these last 2 photos show. These loaves and the one below are made using my master recipe with 250g Mrs Middletons plain white flour & 250g white spelt flour, otherwise all the same quantities,

And this is definitely my most favourite flour mix to date, the dough is generated is so smooth, it’s beautiful to handle, and when turned out it’s always wonderfully firm and a joy to score…

I’ve also use this flour for making sourdough buttermilk biscuits/scones…

I can happily recommend trying Whizz’s beautiful flour, and I even had the honour of meeting her and teaching her how to make sourdough, which was lovely.

Trying new flours is so much fun, and this one has definitely been a successful experiment for me.

You can find Whizz’s lovely flour and oil here.