p.s. Here’s what the finished loaves look like the next day:
Posts Tagged ‘sourdough’
I had a lovely visit from a fella called Rene last week, a former Birmingham University PhD student who now lives and works in his home city in Brazil. He’s a keen home baker and lives as part of an intentional community trying to reduce their impact on the planet and live more self sufficiently. He’s thinking of setting up a community bakery as part of this, and came to have a chat with me whilst he was over here doing some guest lecturing at the Uni. I packed him off with a copy of Knead to Know, a couple of sourdough recipes, and a jam jar of the starter culture for my Cotteridge Sourdough bread. He’s just got back to Brazil and sent me a great picture of his first Cotteridge sourdough loaf, Brazilian style. I love the fact that there’s a small taste of Cotteridge in Brazil now, and a simple mixture of flour and water can help the birth of a new community bakery thousands of miles away! Good luck Rene…
“Learn from the experts how to grow your own veg, with top tips on looking after your kitchen garden. Watch cooking demonstrations, take part in vegetable garden master classes and meet local food and drink producers. There will be tasting sessions running throughout the day and fruit, veg, cheese, bakery and deli stalls selling treats to take home.”
To find out more about Winterbourne Gardens, visit www.winterbourne.org.uk. Loaf will be serving wood-fired sourdough pizza’s from about 11.30 onwards – should be a great day.
Psuedo-sourdough pizza dough (makes 6)
Day before baking
150g strong white flour, or ’00′ if you can get it
3g fast action dried yeast
130g tepid water
2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Combine the ingredients in a bowl, stir thoroughly. Cover with a plastic bag and leave overnight, or for at least 8 hours (the longer the better for a nice sour flavour from the yoghurt). This called a ‘sponge’.
Day of baking
300g sponge from above
460g strong white flour or ’00′
240g tepid water
15g Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional, I prefer to add olive oil on top of the dough when rolled out, but you could add it now as Sarah did)
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and than knead on a clean work surface for around 10 minutes. Don’t add any extra flour, that’s cheating. Place the kneaded dough back into an oiled bowl, cover it with a plastic bag, and leave to ferment for up to 2 hours, depending on the ambient temperature. It will roughly double in volume. Divide the dough into 6 150g pieces, and roll each one out to a round a few millimetres thin. Add your tomato sauce, toppings and some nice cheese and bake in a hot hot (250C, gas mark 10) oven for 10 minutes (directly on a pizza stone if you have one), or in a wood-fired oven for about 2 minutes.
Sarah’s tomato reduction
1.5kg vine ripened tomatoes, (the more aromatic the better), skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Freshly chopped oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large saucepan, without colouring the garlic. When translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and simmer quite vigorously for about 10 minutes until they have reduced into a firm and fragrant sauce. Add salt, pepper and fresh oregano and continue simmering and tasting until you are satisfied with flavour and consistency. It should be more of a thick paste than a thick pasta ‘dressing’. You may need an extra glug of olive oil to emsulify it nicely. Click on the thumbnail images below to see how Sarah’s pizza’s turned out.
So about three weeks ago I went to visit the historic Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire, where I had a private tour from John Bedington the Miller. When I got back from holiday I was champing at the bit to try out the wholemeal flour I had taken home, so much so that the sourdough starter was whipped out of the fridge and refreshed before i’d even taken my coat off. I keep a white sourdough starter, and taking John’s advice, I wanted to include a decent percentage of strong white flour to create a light, wholesome loaf. So I made it with a high percentage of sourdough starter (40% of dough weight), but all the remaining flour was Charlecote Mill standard wholemeal flour. A 67% hydration dough and a long, cool, overnight bulk fermentation led to a light, wholesome loaf, full of flavour and a sense of history and place.
That was two weeks back, and since then i’ve managed to organise to get a 32kg sack of flour dropped off this week, so after a little more experimentation I’m hoping to add a local, wholemeal sourdough loaf to the standard loaves I produce for the community bakery every Friday.
As a baker, or even just as a passionate foodie, it’s important to me to get up close and personal with the ingredients that I’m putting into my food and into my mouth. I was delighted therefore to have the opportunity to have a private tour around Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire the other day after a cheeky off-the-cuff phone call to John Beddington, the master miller. I don’t use John’s flour, yet, but nonetheless it is wonderful to see a craftsman at work, turning inedible raw wheat grains into beautiful soft wholemeal flour.
In a way John’s story is a sad one, and it speaks of this country’s increasing love affair with bad bread over the last few decades. John has been milling at Charlecote for 26 years now, and has leased the building for more than 30. In the first few years John supplied six local bakeries, including the (sadly no longer) Raddlebarn bakery in Selly Oak, Birmingham, but now John only supplies one bakery, and it’s not even that local, down in Oxford. However John is still managing to run his business, and has found an unexpected market for his flour. John principally mills three types of flour at Charlecote. The standard wholemeal flour is made from local Warwickshire wheat and milled to the right grade for chapatti flour, which John sells direct to the Indian and Pakistani community in Coventry, delivering door to door. He also sells maize flour to the same community. Being Soil Association certified, John produces an organic wholemeal flour too, which is milled from two local wheats from Warwickshire and Worcestershire, as well as a bit of organic wheat from Kazakhstan, to improve the mix.
Charlecote Mill itself is a charming building, and one that John clearly loves dearly. It is an isolated building, standing on the meandering river Avon between the villages of Hampton Lucy and Charlecote. In it’s current construction it’s been there since 1806, but John believes there was a mill on the spot for several centuries before that. It is driven by two water wheels, which through an impressive network of bone-crunchingly powerful cogs power two stone mills on the first floor of the building, which are making the current batch of wholemeal flour as we visit. Up in the attic of the building John shows us a large grain store, and the pulley system that allows mill operation to be a one man job. Sacks of flour are strewn everywhere on the ground floor, and the chute from the mill upstairs churns out soft wholemeal flour in a steady stream, like it has for hundreds of years. It’s a romantic scene. John sells me a couple of bags of flour, and we bid farewell, for now.
Without my sourdough starter and having been in a poorly equipped holiday cottage kitchen, I haven’t yet used the flour. However i’m envisioning a part wholemeal sourdough loaf, made with a good percentage of white leaven. I’m hoping this will create a light but wholesome loaf, full of flavour, and a sense of history. I’ll be reporting back on my search for a more local loaf in the coming weeks, stay tuned…
If you’re thinking about subscribing to Loaf Community Bakery’s ‘bread club’, where you get a weekly loaf of bread in return for a monthly subscription of £11, then this Friday, 8th January, you have the opportunity to buy a sample loaf before the scheme gets in full flow on the 22nd of January. These loaves must be pre-ordered by 11am Thursday morning, and will be ready for collection from Cotteridge between 4 and 7.30pm on Friday. The two loaves available to order are:
Revolution Rye (pictured above) – A 100% rye sourdough bread. This loaf is baked with a 2-year old rye sourdough starter, and UK-grown organic light rye flour, topped with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. It has an amazing depth of flavour and surprising moisture. Like a good cheese or wine it gets better with age, and is at it’s best 2 or 3 days after baking. It will be in good condition for 5-7 days. Approx 800g, £2.75.
Cotteridge Sourdough – Flour, water, salt, wild yeasts. Nothing else. A loaf born and raised in Cotteridge using a 4-year old wheat sourdough starter, and UK-grown organic white flour. This is a great everyday bread that has a subtle sourness, light airy crumb, and a hint of smokiness from the wood-fired oven it is baked in. It keeps well for 5 days, and freezes well too. Approx 800g, £2.75.
If you’d like to preorder one (or two) of these loaves for collection on Friday between 4 and 7.30, please email tom using email@example.com before 11am on Thursday 7th January, and I will send you the address details.