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 ‘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
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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
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Follow the process steps and allow your dough time to do its work
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Don’t leave dough on the oven overnight with the light on, it will over prove and be spoiled
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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
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Check out the equipment list, and….
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If you don’t have a banneton, line a similar sized bowl with a clean tea towel and sprinkle it with rice flour
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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
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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:
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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
🌟🌟🌟🌟

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.

I’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. It’s great way to use discard if you’re making a new starter, or using up some if you’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 don’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 there’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 don’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! It’s also a perfect way to use up discard if you are making a new starter, or using up some if you’ve found that you’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 you’re using discard it doesn’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 I’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 you’re ready to use it, or use immediately. If you’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 you’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. I’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 you’ll see from the photos in the grid below that it went a bit wild! It was very exciting to wake up to. Once I’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 didn’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. It’s all in my recipe 👍🏻

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!

My sourdough spelt banana bread…

Something for the weekend?

Introducing my sourdough banana spelt bread…

Inspired by seeing several people’s banana breads recently, including the lovely Kellie, I decided to make my menfolk a banana loaf. Of course, having some starter fed and active, I couldn’t resist making my own sourdough version with no refined sugar at the same time. And this is it!

I used spelt flours, feel free to substitute them for flours of your choice.

The starter adds flavour and texture but not lift in this recipe as it is an immediate recipe. I will try it as an overnight prove one day soon.

It’s great freshly baked but also good later and the next day once the flavours have developed.

As the photos show, I added chopped Brazil nuts, but next time I’d go with no nuts at all or maybe a few walnuts; the Brazil nuts made it a little dry so I don’t recommend it.

As is my choice, I used a small amount of honey in my loaf, I have included more in this written up recipe. If you would prefer something sweeter please feel free to double it or replace it with 100-150g of your choice of sugar.

Ingredients

100g white spelt flour

100g wholemeal spelt flour

100g bubbly active starter

50g runny honey

50g softened butter

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2tsp baking powder

1 egg

3 medium ripe bananas, roughly mashed

An extra banana if you want one for decoration, sliced

Method

Preheat your oven to 160C/320F fan/convection, 180C/360F non fan/convention

Either grease or line a 2lb/900g, 23 x 13cm/9” x 5” loaf tin

Mix all of the ingredients together well, but not over mixed, spoon the mixture into the loaf tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a metal skewer comes out clean.

Eat!

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 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. For more pizza recipes and more, check out my book, The Sourdough Whisperer.