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Archive for April, 2010

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve bought a batch of stoneground, organic flours from Shipton Mill, and I did so before realising that storage would be a problem, as I would have far more flour than I’d usually have.

Storing flour for any length of time means finding somewhere cool and free from vermin. The coolest place is my bedroom, on the floor (I keep my mobility scooter in there, so no carpet). There is, though, a slight problem with silverfish (pretty harmless, easy to kill, but very hard to totally eradicate). I don’t know if they can (more…)

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For anyone interested in creating their own bread recipes, rather than just following someone else’s, this is how I work up a new recipe.

The first step – beyond thinking about if for a while – is to put together a recipe that should get you reasonably close to what you want to achieve. Some times you get lucky, and hit the perfect combination of ingredients first time. Mostly, though, it takes a couple of attempts.

You should, though, get something that’s (more…)

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The San Francisco Sourdough Starter.

Update, April 25: After writing the last update, below, and while waiting for a flour delivery, I added another cup of white flour to the mix, which was fermenting reasonably vigorously. Not only did that fail to thicken it as I’d hoped (why?), the whole thing died. My advice – forget it.

I made up my sourdough starter as instructed – three cups each white bread flour and lukewarm water, mixed together with the culture. That makes a mixture which, to my mind, is way too thin (single cream thin – a poolish rather than a biga). Were I making it again, I’d considerably reduce the amount of water – I think 2 cups at most, maybe even 1.5.

So what I propose to do, to rescue this slop, (more…)

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I’ve found a source for Fermipan yeast (I may have posted about this before, I’m not sure), sensibly-priced sea salt (similar to the price I used to pay when I sourced my salt in Liverpool), and something I’ve been trying to get hold of, without success, for over a year – golden sultanas (for cake and for fruit bread).

Fermipan Yeast (more…)

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There are two bread variants I want to try in the near future – sourdough, and oat bread.

With sourdough, traditionally you make a yeastless dough then leave it out, uncovered, for whatever yeasts there are in the air to colonise.

If you are in a well-established bakery, a winery or a brewery, or in or near an orchard, this is an excellent idea. The average punter, though, is just likely to get dust, athlete’s foot spores, spiders and the occasional woodlouse indoors, or bird crap and flies outdoors, plus whatever passing dogs and cats might do to it. Come to think of it, that must happen to the pros too – we just don’t get to hear of it!

The sensible thing to do, then (more…)

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In today’s Observer magazine, Nigel Slater says” Baking your own bread is one of the least predictable but most satisfying of all kitchen jobs.”

With the latter sentiment I whole-heartedly agree, which is why I abandoned my shiny, new, mixer, and went back to doing it by hand, even though – when I get ambitious and make two loaves, as I will be today, shortly – it can hurt. But the pleasure and the satisfaction far outweigh that.

However, with the former sentiment, it would be quite (more…)

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