Watching the light and bouncy sourdough be rolled out every morning at Books For Cooks wakes up the baker in me. In goes a spoonful of Eric's age-old starter, which has been nurtured everyday since the first mix was made almost thirty years ago. The starter is entirely unique, made only with the grape skins from the Savarine vineyard in the South West of France, organic flour and purified water, topped up with every use. The flavour is heady, strong and bitter and makes the most delicious focaccia.
But with every sourdough, whether fermented with grapes or not, comes an individuality. No batch is the same. The growth, pureness and flavour of the natural levain are dependent on the surrounding environment, feeding on yeast particles in the air.
In the months leading up to making my own sourdough starter, I've been offered samples to adopt...but with stories like the one above, I'd rather have my own to tell. It may not be clean French air here - in fact it's Shepherd's Bush - but it's damn exciting all the same.
Here's the start of my starter, and here's to a daily bread:
♥ Sterilize jar with boiling water for approx. 10 minutes. Pour water out. The container needs to be free from anything that will corrupt the natural yeast of the starter.
♥ Measure out equal parts of organic flour and warm distilled water - I used 25g Doves Organic wholegrain spelt flour and 75g Doves Organic strong wholemeal with 100g water.
♥ Beat water and flour together well to a porridge-like consistency. Hugh F-W likens it to 'thick paint'.
♥ Leave the mix in a warm (about 30°C), undraughty place, cover with clingfilm and leave to ferment.
♥ When bubbles appear - and it could be hours or days - it's feeding time...TBContinued.
Read food blogger and cookbook-writer Vanessa Kimbell's enchanting account of her love for sourdough.