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! 🌟

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 happening…I 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:

🌟 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.

🌟 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.

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

🌟 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.

🌟 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.

🌟 the best thing to do with over proved dough is use it to make focaccia or flatbreads, something that doesn’t require structure.

Happy baking 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

Making multiple doughs and loaves…

🌟 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 you’ll need to make your doughs.

🌟 you don’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.

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

🌟 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.

🌟 I also use one bowl per dough as I like to know that I’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. It’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!

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

🌟🌟🌟 Happy Baking 🌟🌟🌟

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 β€˜chuck it all in a bowl and see what happens’ kind of creation, which is what these were…I’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. I’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, they’re even better after 2-3 days, and can easily be reheated in a toaster.

Enjoy!

I hope you like them!

More top tips…

Some more top tips for you and answers to the questions I am most often asked…
🌟🌟🌟🌟
Give your starter time, it may look like it’s doing nothing, but it’s building strength, stick with it
🌟
If your starter is thin with tiny bubbles, add extra flour to thicken it up, it needs the extra food
🌟
If your starter has a layer of murky liquid in the top, it’s not ruined, it’s just hungry. Feed it! And make sure you are not keeping it anywhere too warm, the heat will make it constantly thin and weak
🌟
Don’t keep your starter in the oven with the light on, it’s too hot, it will work too fast and always be too thin and weak
🌟
The flour you have made your starter from does not need to match the flour in your dough
🌟
Follow the process steps and allow your dough time to do its work
🌟
Don’t leave dough on the oven overnight with the light on, it will over prove and be spoiled
🌟
Check out all of the info on my site about flour, weather, scoring, storing, the FAQs, baking times takes, there’s lots of free info there for you
🌟
Check out the equipment list, and….
🌟
If you don’t have a banneton, line a similar sized bowl with a clean tea towel and sprinkle it with rice flour
🌟
If you don’t have rice flour, grind some uncooked rice, it’s the same thing
🌟
You can use any covered oven proof pan just make sure it’s big enough
🌟
Sourdough is a wonderfully slow process, let it happen and enjoy it, it will be worth it
🌟
Watch your dough and not the clock
🌟
Give your dough time to double overnight; depending on the temperature overnight this may take shorter or longer than my usual times stated in my master recipe
🌟
If your dough is soft and spreads, use 25g less water in your dough next time
🌟
If you dough spreads when you turn it out in the pan, but bakes up to a lovely loaf, don’t worry about the spreading, enjoy your loaf
🌟🌟🌟🌟
Always my biggest and most important tip:
🌟🌟🌟🌟
If it tastes good IT IS GOOD!
🌟🌟🌟🌟
Don’t focus on looks and holes and scoring, they don’t make it taste any better, enjoy what you’ve created, it’s amazing x x
🌟🌟🌟🌟

Leftovers loaves…

You know how it is, you open your baking cupboard and you’ve got various bags of flour, with various amounts left, but not enough for an entire dough…

So the only thing to do is to throw them all together and hope for the best?! That’s what I did this week. And these loaves were the outcome..

These include portions of strong white bread flour, malted multigrain flour, khorasan flour and a seeded flour mix, all thrown together in various quantities to make up my normal 500g amount of flour for my master recipe.

As you can imagine, I was happy with the outcome!

I love seeing how the activity in Star and then the dough after it’s overnight prove translates into the dough…it never ever gets boring!

Happy Baking!

The story of this week’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

My final proof sourdough rolls…

The rolls are made using my master recipe dough again, but this time direct from the banneton, maybe my simplest method for making rolls yet!

Following the overnight prove, bring the dough gently together and place it into a well rice floured banneton, cover, and place it in the fridge as per the recipe process.

You can then use this whenever you are ready to make the rolls; I have used dough that’s been in the fridge for 3 hours and up to 31 hours and everything in between to make these rolls. The point being that you can have the dough ready to use whenever you need it.

It gives you full control over the timing – you don’t need to held hostage by the dough!

When you’re ready, sprinkle some water onto your counter surface.

Turn the dome of dough gently out onto the counter.

Using a dough cutter, cut into 8 or 12 wedges.

*At this point you can gently place the pieces of dough into chopped nuts, seeds, oats (as baked below), whatever you like. You can try and keep the wedge shape or wind them into other shapes, or just splodge them on the tray (see the photos below of a chopped pecan studded roll made by placing the cut wedge into the chopped nuts then wound into a swirl).

Place the wedges onto a prepared tray.

You can now bake these from cold start, or in a preheated oven.

They don’t need to be covered and no steam is required.

Cold start: Place the tray into the cold oven, turn it up to 220C fan, 240 non fan, 450F, and bake for 20-25 mins until browned and risen

Hot start: Preheat the oven to 220C fan, 240 non fan, 450F, and bake for 20-22 mins until browned and risen

To see this in action, check out the video on my YouTube channel showing exactly how I make them: https://youtu.be/YCVqTOJwzSY

Happy Baking!

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