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!

More top tips…

Some more top tips for you and answers to the questions I am most often askedโ€ฆ
๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Give your starter time, it may look like itโ€™s doing nothing, but itโ€™s building strength, stick with it
๐ŸŒŸ
If your starter is thin with tiny bubbles, add extra flour to thicken it up, it needs the extra food
๐ŸŒŸ
If your starter has a layer of murky liquid in the top, itโ€™s not ruined, itโ€™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
๐ŸŒŸ
Donโ€™t keep your starter in the oven with the light on, itโ€™s too hot, it will work too fast and always be too thin and weak
๐ŸŒŸ
The flour you have made your starter from does not need to match the flour in your dough
๐ŸŒŸ
Follow the process steps and allow your dough time to do its work
๐ŸŒŸ
Donโ€™t leave dough on the oven overnight with the light on, it will over prove and be spoiled
๐ŸŒŸ
Check out all of the info on my site about flour, weather, scoring, storing, the FAQs, baking times takes, thereโ€™s lots of free info there for you
๐ŸŒŸ
Check out the equipment list, andโ€ฆ.
๐ŸŒŸ
If you donโ€™t have a banneton, line a similar sized bowl with a clean tea towel and sprinkle it with rice flour
๐ŸŒŸ
If you donโ€™t have rice flour, grind some uncooked rice, itโ€™s the same thing
๐ŸŒŸ
You can use any covered oven proof pan just make sure itโ€™s big enough
๐ŸŒŸ
Sourdough is a wonderfully slow process, let it happen and enjoy it, it will be worth it
๐ŸŒŸ
Watch your dough and not the clock
๐ŸŒŸ
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
๐ŸŒŸ
If your dough is soft and spreads, use 25g less water in your dough next time
๐ŸŒŸ
If you dough spreads when you turn it out in the pan, but bakes up to a lovely loaf, donโ€™t worry about the spreading, enjoy your loaf
๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Always my biggest and most important tip:
๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
If it tastes good IT IS GOOD!
๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Donโ€™t focus on looks and holes and scoring, they donโ€™t make it taste any better, enjoy what youโ€™ve created, itโ€™s amazing x x
๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Goats cheese and pesto sourdough waffles

Let me introduce you to my most recent creation….it all began when I bought a waffle maker recently, possibly a huge mistake for my waistline, but so much fun to play with!

Making waffles with starter adds the lovely flavour we all adore, as well as a great texture.

Iโ€™m a savoury eater, so you could convert this easily for a sweet option but let me assure you that these are worth trying.

I used just starter, egg, goats cheese and some tomato pesto. Itโ€™s great way to use discard if youโ€™re making a new starter, or using up some if youโ€™ve been building up too much, or feed up your starter for the purpose then portion out what you need for the recipe.

You could also use less starter and top up the rest of the mixture with flour and water. Personally I prefer them made with all starter for the flavour.

Ingredients

Makes 1 round/4 quarters (double the quantities for 2 rounds)

200g starter (discard, unfed, fed and active and stirred down)

OR 100g starter, as above, plus 50g flour of your choice & 50g water

1 large egg

50g crumbly goats cheese (or cheese of your choice)

25g pesto of your choice (or harissa, chilli sauce, whatever you fancy)

Method

Heat your waffle maker to maximum.

Stir all of the ingredients together well, but donโ€™t break up the goats cheese too much. Let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken.

Once the waffle maker is ready, pour all of the mixture in (it all fitted perfectly in mine, assess how much yours needs from your own experience), close the maker and cook for 10-15 minutes or until thereโ€™s no more steam coming from your maker.

Carefully ease the cooked waffles from the maker, cut into quarters and serve.

Tuck in as soon as cool enough to hold!

If you donโ€™t have a waffle maker, maybe add a little extra flour and try these as pancakes or flatbreads?

My waffle maker is made by Netta and I ordered it on amazon.

A guide to making sourdough pancakes…

Making pancakes with sourdough starter is simple, fast and oh so satisfying! Itโ€™s also a perfect way to use up discard if you are making a new starter, or using up some if youโ€™ve found that youโ€™ve started keeping too much starter.

Alternatively, feed your starter for the purpose. Build it up so that you have 100-200g of starter then mix it with milk of your choice, and an egg or egg replacement, and, if you feel the batter needs it, extra flour. Whisk it all up together.

*If you are feeding your starter solely for making pancakes, just feed it more than normal to create what you need. If youโ€™re using discard it doesnโ€™t need feeding or any additional attention, just use it as it is.

*As a guide, I whisk 150-200g starter with 1 egg and then enough milk to make the batter I want, depending on whether Iโ€™m making crepes or scotch/American pancakes. Thinner for crepes, thicker for the smaller thicker pancakes.

*You can use any type of starter and any type of flour to make your pancakes, I use whatever takes my fancy, hence the different colours of mine shown here.

*Make the batter as thin or thick as you usually would for pancakes.

*Let it sit until youโ€™re ready to use it, or use immediately. If youโ€™re going to let it sit, maybe for 1-2 hours, it will ferment a little and develop some more flavour, just cover the bowl until youโ€™re ready to use it. It can sit at room temp. I usually use mine immediately.

*Heat a large pan over a medium heat and melt some butter in the pan. Spoon in a ladle full of batter and cook until ready, turning halfway once the base has browned.

*Eat the pancakes with your choice of sweet or savoury fillings.

I used 2 of my sourdough pancakes to make quesadillas, I filled 2 with a homemade chilli sauce and grated cheese and melted them together
Tasty sourdough quesadillas

Bee pollen sourdough…

I was very lucky recently to be sent some bee pollen by one of my very kind Instagram followers. Iโ€™ve had bee pollen before, but not like this, this one is a vibrant yellow with lovely fat granules. Sourdough loves bee pollen, it loves the natural wild yeast and sugars that it brings to the party.

For this loaf I played with a new starter adding bee pollen to it from the beginning, and youโ€™ll see from the photos in the grid below that it went a bit wild! It was very exciting to wake up to. Once Iโ€™d stirred it down and fed it again the next morning, it was still active and bubbly and ready to use within an hour.

This is what I used to make this loaf, however, you do NOT need to make a new starter yourself. If you would like to see how much starters like bee pollen, feed up your starter, split some out into a new bowl and feed it for a couple of days with your usual flour and water and a good amount of bee pollen before giving it a go. Or if you fancy making a new starter with some, then go for it! I didnโ€™t measure out the bee pollen, I used a dessert sized spoon amount each time I added some.

Top left: the bee pollen;
top right and bottom left: my happy starter after an overnight bee pollen feed; bottom right: an hour after a feed of flour and water that morning

To make my loaf, I used my master recipe, exactly as it is (link on the left of your screen) with this bee pollen boosted starter. You can also add the bee pollen to your dough instead.

For this loaf I used my 28cm long oval banneton and baked in my 30cm long oval pan from a cold start for 55 minutes. Itโ€™s all in my recipe ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

And this was inside the cut loaf. You can see the yellow tint from the bee pollen. Although bee pollen is sweet it does not make your loaf sweet using this small amount, but it does make the sourness more mild, and really produces a great texture, really fabulously chewy! It was a lovely loaf to eat.

If you do try it, I hope you like it!