Talking about dough…

Amazing, beautiful dough…I love seeing this! This is a shot of the underneath of my bowl of dough following itโ€™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. Itโ€™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…

๐ŸŒŸ 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

๐ŸŒŸ if your dough isnโ€™t growing, itโ€™s either because itโ€™s been cold, see below, or your starter needs a boost, see my site for details

๐ŸŒŸ all doughs are different due to different flours, different temperatures, different environments and different handling

๐ŸŒŸ if itโ€™s been cold overnight and your dough hasnโ€™t doubled, itโ€™s normal, temperatures under 18C/64F will slow the growth down; just give it longer in the morning to do its work

๐ŸŒŸ under proved dough will result in a dense loaf with large uneven holes, but it will still taste good!

๐ŸŒŸ if itโ€™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

๐ŸŒŸ over proved dough will result in a flat dense bake, but it will also still taste good!

๐ŸŒŸ to combat high temps either read the baking timetable on my site or use less starter in your dough

๐ŸŒŸ when you handle your dough after itโ€™s main bulk prove, it should feel bouncy and have some nice resistance

๐ŸŒŸ my best tip is: learn to watch your dough and not the clock; your dough well tell you whatโ€™s happening and what you need to change, if anything, and,

๐ŸŒŸ get to know your starter

๐ŸŒŸ get to know your flours and your doughs

๐ŸŒŸ get to know how sourdough works in YOUR home

๐ŸŒŸ Make notes, jot down times and temperatures, flours and behaviours and create your own reference guide.

๐ŸŒŸ Happy baking! ๐ŸŒŸ

Talking about dough…

Amazing, beautiful dough…I love seeing this! This is a shot of the underneath of my bowl of dough following itโ€™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. Itโ€™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…

๐ŸŒŸ 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

๐ŸŒŸ if your dough isnโ€™t growing, itโ€™s either because itโ€™s been cold, see below, or your starter needs a boost, see my site for details

๐ŸŒŸ all doughs are different due to different flours, different temperatures, different environments and different handling

๐ŸŒŸ if itโ€™s been cold overnight and your dough hasnโ€™t doubled, itโ€™s normal, temperatures under 18C/64F will slow the growth down; just give it longer in the morning to do its work

๐ŸŒŸ under proved dough will result in a dense loaf with large uneven holes, but it will still taste good!

๐ŸŒŸ if itโ€™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

๐ŸŒŸ over proved dough will result in a flat dense bake, but it will also still taste good!

๐ŸŒŸ to combat high temps either read the baking timetable on my site or use less starter in your dough

๐ŸŒŸ when you handle your dough after itโ€™s main bulk prove, it should feel bouncy and have some nice resistance

๐ŸŒŸ my best tip is: learn to watch your dough and not the clock; your dough well tell you whatโ€™s happening and what you need to change, if anything, and,

๐ŸŒŸ get to know your starter

๐ŸŒŸ get to know your flours and your doughs

๐ŸŒŸ get to know how sourdough works in YOUR home

๐ŸŒŸ Make notes, jot down times and temperatures, flours and behaviours and create your own reference guide.

๐ŸŒŸ Happy baking! ๐ŸŒŸ

Making sourdough in hot temperatures…

Heat can be great for proving dough, but only up to a point; once temperatures start to rise up and over 20C/70F at night, our beautiful overnight doughs risk over proving.

There are simple steps to prevent this from happeningโ€ฆI have a timetable on here which can help; it is based on proving the dough on the counter for a few hours in the warmth, then putting the dough into your banneton and into the fridge overnight; the dough can then be baked directly from the fridge any time the next day.

Or, what I do, which is the simplest solution, is use my master recipe exactly as it is, just with less starter. As the photo shows, I use 20g of my lovely active starter, which pretty much equates to a tablespoon. You do not need to change anything else about the recipe, just this.

TOP TIPS:

๐ŸŒŸ less starter slows the dough down and allows you to still be able to prove your dough on the counter overnight. It works perfectly for foodbod sourdough bakers all over the world who live and make sourdough in hot countries all year round.

๐ŸŒŸ a thermometer in your kitchen will help you to be able to plan for when you need to do this but already around the Northern Hemisphere temperatures are rising and doughs are being challenged. If this is happening to you, use less starter.

๐ŸŒŸ you will know if your dough is over proving if it grows very quickly and is overly bubbly.

๐ŸŒŸ you will know if you dough HAS over proved if it fills your bowl, is very slack and fluid, very bubbly, impossible to handle and smells strongly.

๐ŸŒŸ this dough will no longer have any structure and will not be able to hold its shape. It will bake to a flat, dense, but tasty loaf.

๐ŸŒŸ the best thing to do with over proved dough is use it to make focaccia or flatbreads, something that doesnโ€™t require structure.

Happy baking ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Please note: this does not work the other way round. If you are heading into cold weather, more starter is not the answer. If itโ€™s cold itโ€™s cold, dough will respond slower however much starter you use. In this instance just allow your dough more time to do it work. Thereโ€™s full info and hints and tips on my site to help you.

Making multiple doughs and loaves…

๐ŸŒŸ if you want to double or triple my master recipe, feed your starter double or triple the usual amounts to generate the amount of active starter youโ€™ll need to make your doughs.

๐ŸŒŸ you donโ€™t need to start out with more starter for it to be able make more; just feed your usual base amount for the job, it will work perfectly.

๐ŸŒŸ if you want to double or triple my master recipe, just double or triple all of the quantities.

๐ŸŒŸ I always use one bowl per dough when I make multiples rather than one large single dough in one bowl. The main reason for this is that when I prove my dough overnight it grows and fills the entire bowl, so I would need an absolutely huge bowl to hold a double or triple batch of dough.

๐ŸŒŸ I also use one bowl per dough as I like to know that Iโ€™ve fully mixed and incorporated all of the ingredients well. So whether I make 2, 3 (or 4, as I was in the pic), doughs, I use 1 bowl per dough. Itโ€™s also a lot easier than trying to split the dough further down the line.

Plus a huge batch of dough would become quite difficult to manage!

๐ŸŒŸ if you do make a single bigger dough and therefore one huge loaf, you will indeed need to bake it for longer.

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ Happy Baking ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Cheese and ketchup sourdough babka loaf…

One of the things I love is that I can use my master recipe dough in so many ways, whatever I fancy making, I can use the same dough as a base. Including lots of the creations in my recipe index, and this latest creation from my kitchen: a cheese and ketchup sourdough babka loaf.

I chose to use cheese and ketchup in this loaf because I knew my son would love it, but you could choose any fillings of your choice: cheese and marmite, cheese and pesto, cheese and chilli sauce, cheese and whatever takes your fancy basically! Or, use the same basis for a sweet loaf..the possibilities are endless!

In this loaf, the cheese melted and the tomato sauce caramelised across the surface to produce something magical!

I was so pleased with how this came out, it made such a soft tasty loaf. To see exactly how I made it, check out my video here.

Whatever you choose to fill it with, I hope you love it!

Spiced spinach sesame seed sourdough flatbreads…

My flatbreads served with a plate full of leftover roast vegetables, ajvar, zaatar and tahini

I do like a โ€˜chuck it all in a bowl and see what happensโ€™ kind of creation, which is what these were…Iโ€™ve made many spinach flatbreads in the past, but this was the first time adding some starter. It adds an extra flavour and of course, all that sourdough goodness we love!

These are also packed with great healthy ingredients and are a great way to get kids eating spinach! You can use them as flatbreads or make bigger rounds and use them as a pizza base.

Equally great the next day, the flavours continued to develop

This recipe can serve as a basis for something you might fancy making, you can swap out the ingredients for things of your choice or just follow it as it is. Iโ€™ve included the spices I used, feel free to swap these for your favourites, an Indian inspired spice mix works well too.

Ingredients

200g starter (this can be discarded starter, unfed, or fed for the purpose)

250g baby spinach leaves

150g flour of your choice, I used buckwheat flour

50g toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons tahini or olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons tabil spice mix (toasted even amounts of coriander, cumin and carraway seeds, ground)

2 teaspoons pul biber chilli flakes

2 teaspoons paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

All in the bowl

Method

In a blender whizz up the everything expect the sesame seeds, starter and flour. Run it until the spinach and garlic are finally chopped.

Scoop it all into a mixing bowl, stir in the seeds, then fold in the starter and flour.

Cover the bowl and leave the dough to settle and develop.

Now you can leave the dough for an hour, or several or overnight. The longer you leave it the more the flavour will develop, it may even prove and little and puff up.

When you want to cook your flatbreads, heat your oven to 180C fan/200C non fan.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and break off portions. Shape them into round then flatten them out to 1/2cm thick.

Place them onto a oven tray. Either bake immediately or cover and allow them to prove again for an hour before baking.

The uncooked dough is such a great colour and smells amazing

Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly puffed and darker in colour.

Eat warm or store for later, theyโ€™re even better after 2-3 days, and can easily be reheated in a toaster.

Enjoy!

I hope you like them!

Sourdough Uzbek flatbreads…

Iโ€™ve been wanting to try making โ€˜Lepyoshkaโ€™ Uzbek flatbreads ever since I saw my friend Sally make them and, of course, I wanted to convert them to sourdough. So this week I did!

I purchased the stamp from this Etsy seller a few weeks ago especially; theyโ€™re so lovely, it would be easy to fill your cupboard with them!!

I was very happy with my first attempt, you can just about see the pattern created by the special stamp, but moreover, with the addition of yoghurt in the dough they tasted great. They were lovely immediately from the oven, still good a few hours later, and then again just as tasty the next day when heated up again in the toaster.

To make them I made a stiffer dough than usual by using a mix of wholemeal and white flour, plus the yoghurt in place of water. I used a 0% fat Greek yoghurt (just because thatโ€™s what I had available, Iโ€™d use full fat next time) so it added a real tang to the flavour, and an almost cheesy taste once baked.

To use the stamp and stop it from sticking to the dough I dunked it in water for each use, then firmly pressed it into the dough and pulled directly back up and out again.

For these I used up lots of young starter, from the starters Iโ€™ve been playing with in my kitchen recently, and less yoghurt, but you donโ€™t need to. You could use less of your established starter and more yoghurt to create the same consistency in the dough.

Ingredients

300g young starter

100g thick Greek yoghurt

200g strong white bread flour

50g strong wholemeal flour

20g olive oil

1tsp salt

Method

I used my usual master recipe process to create and build up the dough, then placed the bowl in the fridge overnight for it to develop, as well as to protect it from the warm night.

The next day I let the dough come back up to room temp, sprinkled the counter with water then turned the dough out onto the counter and cut it into equal(ish) portions.

I rolled these into balls, flattened them out with my fingers and pressed them into rounds.

I placed each round onto a tray lined with parchment paper and I then used a spoon to flatten out a circle in the middle into which I pressed the stamp.

I then placed them in a cold oven, turned it up to 220C fan and baked them for 17-18 minutes.

The result is a lovely soft edge with a crunchy thinner stamped middle.

I will definitely be making these again, and adding them to my courses ๐Ÿ™‚

Buttermilk and tahini sourdough loaf…

In my Facebook group, ‘sourdough with foodbod’, I recently launched a new challenge to feed a portion of our starters with something new, the aim being to have fun and to see what we might create, some ideas will work, and some won’t, and that’s the fun of it…

We always feed our starters the best possible flour and water, but what would happen if we fed them something totally different? A different liquid, or a different type of flour, or something instead of flour? Just to see what would happen, what the reaction would be, what the flavour outcome might be..? The possibilities are endless!

**For this challenge, I highly recommend using just a portion of your precious starter, and keeping the rest safe and sound. So for example, I fed my lovely Star and separated some portions of her into new bowls to have some to play with without affecting my standard cherished base amount. I always always make sure that I keep an unadulterated base amount of my precious, beautiful Star whatever sourdough experiments I do.

For this loaf I fed 50g of Star with my favourite buttermilk & tahini sauce; to make the sauce I blended 50g of tahini with a 284ml pot of buttermilk.

And as you can see, Star liked it as much as I do! This photo above shows the mix after 8 hours.

This photo above shows the mix the next morning.

This produced a firm spongy starter, very much like a low hydration starter or ‘pasta madre’, full of lovely texture.

To make the dough I added more tahini to some water (I blended 50g of tahini with 450ml of water) and used that in the dough to add even more flavour, and it worked perfectly. The resulting loaf had a nice crust, and a close crumb, due to the dairy element, and a lovely subtle flavour of sesame seeds. I will definitely do this again.

To try the flavour, you could add the tahini to the dough whilst using your standard starter, or you could play with it like it did.

This is what I did..

Day 1

I fed 50g of Star with 30g of strong white bread flour + 30g of my buttermilk & tahini sauce (details above), covered and left on the counter

8 hours later I fed the whole mixture 50g of strong white bread flour + 50g of buttermilk & tahini sauce, covered and left on the counter overnight

Day 2

I had a bowl of lovely textured thick happy starter, as seen above.

To mix up the dough I used:

100g of the buttermilk & tahini starter

500g of strong white bread flour

350g of a water and tahini mix

1tsp salt

I then followed my usual process to work with the dough and bake her the next day.

The dough was lovely and firm, a joy to score, and it baked beautifully from a cold start.

The crumb was closer than other loaves might be, this is due to the dairy element. You could really smell the tahini in the bread and you could taste it in each bite without it being too strong.

Definitely a success in our house!

If you decide to experiment with your starter, do tag me and #starterfun wherever you share it, and enjoy the fun! I’ve already got more experiments to share, coming soon…

My braided loaf…

This was something I created recently and I literally loved it! I was so pleased with how it turned out.

I managed to take a few shots as I made it to be able to show how I did it. I apologise now for all of the shots of the final loaf, I got carried away in my excitement!

I made this with dough I made using my standard master recipe using Shipton Mill Canadian bread flour. It had proved overnight on the counter for 10 hours; I put it into the banneton and into the fridge, where it sat for 24 hours.

You do not need to leave your dough for that long, it’s just how it went on this occasion…leaving it a minimum 6 hours would be fine.

To create the final loaf, I sprinkled water onto the kitchen counter, and gently turned the dough out from the banneton onto the counter.

I then used a rolling pin to press into the dough and roll out a portion..

I then used my dough knife to cut this flattened piece into three..

I plaited/braided this piece and folded it over the remaining dough..

I then repeated the processed 3 more times to create a parcel..

You can see the dough is still active during this handling.

I then used 2 dough knives to lift the dough into my prepared tin, lined with parchment paper..

And baked in a cold pan, in a preheated oven at 220C fan/240C non fan/460F wihtbthe lid on for 50 mins.

And it baked to a beauty!

When I sliced into the loaf, this was the inside…

I hope you like my braided loaf, if you decide to have a go, have fun, and send me a photo!

The story of this weekโ€™s course…

This week I had a lovely lady in my kitchen who had travelled especially from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It’s such a compliment that she wanted to come and share my kitchen, and that she follows my baking from so far away.

It was also very close to my heart to welcome her to my home; I lived in Dubai as a child and I have a long connection with the UAE having had parents living Dubai and then Abu Dhabi across 30 years, as well as living there myself full time for 5 years prior to that. It is a place that holds a special piece of my heart and formed many of my food tastes as well as creative influences.

It was a joy to talk to someone who remembers the Dubai that I remember from the 1980’s and to listen to her speak Arabic is a sound I always love!

During the course we focussed on the basics of my master recipe and process, as well as working with wholemeal flour and using doughs for making rolls and other lovely sourdough goodies.

I always make sure that there is lots of dough to play with on my courses to get the feel of how different flours affect the dough but also to be able to turn dough out to make rolls in various guises, including the ones in the photos in this post.

There were all made with my master recipe dough, one portion of which included 150g of khorasan/kamut flour (hence the yellow tint), and another made up of 250g Mrs Middletons plain natural flour + 250g Mathews Cotswolds white spelt flour.

We chopped up the dough and roll some portions in toasted seeds (above), and some in some Middle Eastern zaatar spice mix (below), and left some naked.

You will find the details for making my various rolls recipes in my recipe index and all of the doughs were made using my master recipe.

I do love running my courses, I meet such lovely people, and it’s always an honour to welcome sourdough bakers from around the country and the world to my kitchen xx