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No yeast.. no problem.. Sourdough starter to the rescue


sour breadGiven flour is really challenging to get hold of at the moment, it seems everyone in lockdown is passing their time enjoying a bit of cosplay as a Great British Bakeoff contestant.

We love people cooking and baking from scratch so we applaud each and everyone of you.

We say let your inner Mary Berry / Paul Hollywood (delete as appropriate) rise to the surface like a well proved loaf of bread.

Speaking of bread, the flour shortage is not the only concern for home bakers at the moment. There seems to be no yeast available either. Shock horror!


How do I make bread without yeast?

Our supplier Doves Farm stock a really good quick yeast but we have been told they are out of stock till July so if you have some yeast, use it wisely, otherwise don’t panic its definitely not game over and maybe a lot better for your gut health (but that is a conversation for another day).

Using a small amount of your copious amounts of flour, water and a bit of patience you can create your own sourdough starter and say goodbye to dried yeast and hello to a world of incredible bread.

There are lots of how to create your own sourdough starter guide on the internet with pretty photos and kilner jar side profile shots galore. I don’t think the world needs another guide so if that is what you need this isn’t the blog for you.

Where we can help is an instant solution to get you baking decent bread and a simple care guide to looking after your starter in the most hassle free way.

Our instant solution is to order some of our lovely organic rye and organic wheat starter and get baking! Don’t wait 10-14 days developing your starter, getting bogged down by daily feeds and the constant worry as to whether it is too warm, too cool, etc etc, there is so much more to do even during lockdown! And do not, like one of my good friends, feed you starter grapes. It didn’t work! And it doesn’t need it.

Our hand reared, fed by human starter is the only starter you’ll ever need to buy, look after it and you could pass it down to your children as a family heirloom, so that £5 investment actually makes a lot of sense.


Simple tips to look after your sourdough starter

1, Once your starter is established, (like ours) there is no need to feed it daily, I think two / three times a week is fine, Generally I feed mine approx 6 hours before I want to bake and it rises well and gives great results. Temperature can affect this so it is a learning curve in you kitchen. You can check if its ready by spooning a bit into a glass of water and seeing if it floats.

2, Your starter doesn’t die if you don’t feed it, it might if you leave it for weeks on end but one day won’t push it over the edge.

3, Use a jar with a lid

4, Store in the kitchen at ambient temperature or store in the fridge after a feed but remember to allow it to rest at room temp at least 12-24 hours before you want to use it and it will need feeding before you use it.


How much shall I feed my starter?

Starting with your 70g of starter you can feed it with 100ml tepid water, 50g rye and 50g strong wheat (ideal combination) however given shortages etc, a white bread flour or all purpose flour is more than acceptable and will do it no harm at all. I like to use organic flour but that is a personal preference not a necessity.


How much shall I use in my recipe?

There are lots of different bread recipes out there and methods, my bread recipe works really well for me, its quite simple, the kids like it and tastes great

50g starter (6 hours or so after being fed)

375g strong white flour

25g rye

100g whole wheat or kamut

360g tepid water

10g salt

a mixture of seeds eg flax, carraway and sunflower if you like that sort of thing.)


What do I do with the sourdough starter waste?

Unless you bake 4 loaves at a time you will be left with leftover sourdough starter that can go into crumpets, pancakes, or pizza dough or you could split the original sourdough starter that you bought into two and half the feeding recipe and have less ‘waste starter’. Keep the spare starter in the fridge as a back up. Just remember to always keep the original amount (whether its 35g or 70g) in the jar as your base ready for the next feed.


Any other tips?

Get the kids involved, my boys love having a smell of the stinky sour dough and running away. But they also love to help make real bread with no unnecessary ingredients and that is priceless.

Enjoy, any questions drop us a line on our dedicated sourdough starter hotline.


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