I was gifted a jar of sourdough starter recently. It was a sweet starter that had sugar in it, but I knew that bread was my dream so I only fed it with flour and water.  I named him Joffrey because I was sure it would be petulant and difficult*. But actually, it was super easy!

Joffrey in a Jar

I transferred the mix to a large jar and fed him (yes the sourdough starter does have a gender) almost daily for a week with flour and water. He had a good layer of ‘hooch’ floating on top, and when it came to baking, I just mixed this in and included it as well rather than skimming it off.

I used this recipe for a rustic sourdough bread, but I also added raisins and walnuts as I was worried the starter would be sweet from the initial sugar and would therefore need sweet counterparts to offset this. I accidentally added an extra cup of water so I spent a while adding more flour, and a bit more sourdough to try and get the right texture dough.

In general the dough was super sticky and it was really hard washing up the bowl/getting the dough off me. I’m not sure if this is to do with the sourdough or because I added the extra water?

It took a while to rise and I was terrified of failure but actually it rose as per the recipe and the timings given were pretty much perfect. For my second loaf I left it overnight for the first rise and then cooked the following day but this didn’t really make a noticeable difference.

The bread itself was delicious! It also looked gorgeous and like a real bakery bread. The trick given in the recipe is to put warm water on top and slash the top before popping it in the oven; this was really effective in giving it a crispy crust, and also having it look professional.

I think it was also important that the oven was fully heated before I put the bread in; I’m often impatient and put things in the oven before it is hot but this time I resisted.

I basically ate a whole loaf by myself, sometimes toasted sometimes plain, always with lots of butter…

I will go for a plain loaf next time without the walnuts and raisins (I’m fairly confident the starter is no longer that sugary and that a sweet flavour won’t impart to anything I bake with it), and also will maybe try a savoury loaf with garlic, olives, herbs etc.

Joffrey is doing really well, my creepy sourdough baby is growing bigger every day….

*Since this post, Joffrey has become slightly difficult. It was only a matter of time right? More to come.


About Emily

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