With apologies to regular visitors to these pages, I am putting the stand down and waiting for the various house modifications to be finished. My computer is relegated to a cold extension spare room. Until the earth tilts in our favour it fails to entice me in.. Adding pages means using an iPad or Blackberry. Neither conducive to photoblogging.
I am currently celebrating however. For many years, I have made my own bread. It has taken a decade to reach the understanding that it really does matter what flour you use. And a further decade before I stopped kneading it into dry resigned playdough.
I have ignored instruction and reduced my technique to complete simplicity. No yeast. No salt. No sugar. Flour and water and time only. For those who might like to try:
Buy the very best wholemeal flour you can. Ironically, our ancestors would have thought nothing of this technique and paid less. We have reduced ourselves to paying more for unrefined materials. In a a warm bowl (one that you are willing to relinquish to the process for a week or so) mix a cup of the flour into a half pint of lukewarm water. Mix well and cover. The yeasts in the air and the flour will now awaken and get to work. Eating and farting just like the rest of us.
I place this simple starter by the stove. It will go through a variety of physical and chemical changes over days so best not disturb.
When it looks bubbly and no longer smells of vinegar but rather has a grassy, warm effect add more water and mix again. There are no rules about time. The first crop of bubbles took me three days.
After five days and with no appreciable turn back to vinegar, halve the mix. Clean the bowl and repeat with the leavings.
In a separate bowl, mix your starter with a further half pint of water and add good quality strong White flour. I use 00 pasta flour and try to get organically grown. In this instance it makes a difference.
Now proceed as with any other recipe. Mix, knead and wait for it to double. This will take longer than usual but it's worth it.
40 minutes at 150 (in a fan oven) results in a very palatable sourdough. I shall now only use yeast when time is short. Having two loaves in ones repertoire is sufficient to anyone's needs I think. One for a flourish but the other for meditative sandwiches.
I plan to just have the starter sat by the stove now. Bubbling. Pending my return to a PC and/or when Apple see fit to providing us with a USB socket, pictured on Twitter only. At @richardhesketh1
I thank you!