Bread baking course part I and making a sourdough starter
Bread… that most elusive of materials… 🙂 I have to confess that I’m sort of a breadbaking virgin. True; I have baked bread before as you can see here but up till now it has been mostly with premade flourmixtures or has been a complete failure as you can see here…I have made quite a few very succesful focaccia breads but I figured it was time I got my head around actual and proper bread baking.
I love bread. I’ve always been a ‘breadgirl’. Growing up in the Netherlands, bread is a rather large part of our foodculture. We are people that eat a lot of bread in general and some maybe more then others. I actually worked in a bakery in my previous life (which was roughly 25 years ago) but I didn’t really learn much there and if I did I have all forgotten it by now. But when I lived on my own I could go days without ever eating a warm meal, just existing on delicious bread was enough for me. Ofcourse now that I have Tom to take into account that rarely happens anymore. He loves bread as well, but he gets grumpy if he doesn’t eat a warm meal at least once a day. So we still eat a lot of bread but maybe slightly less then when it was just me.
But breadmaking; now that is something entirely different. I’ve always been slightly in awe of people that make gorgeous bread and I have always considered it to be very difficult. The whole process of yeast and rising and kneading got me scared. And if the times that you tried baking bread, it sort of failed you start to wonder what magical processes are required to create gorgeous fluffy bread. So I signed up for a baking course. A baking course purely around bread. This was not a course designed to learn you a recipe but it is based around understanding the nature of dough, flour, yeast and all other ingredients you might use. So if you bake your own bread you understand why something didn’t work and you understand why it didn’t rise etc.
The course is organized and given by Robert Verweij from Teest and Culinair Centrum Beverwijk and Edwin Klaasen from Desemenzo (for those that don’t speak Dutch. Desem means sourdough) and is giving in an actual bakery in Vianen, Steehouder.
It’s two days in total; one last week and one coming Monday and it is a lot of information to process but I do feel I’m learning a lot too and that’s ultimately what it’s all about. At the moment my sourdough starter is developing in the kitchen so I can’t wait to bake something with it on Monday.
So what did we do on day 1? Apart from a lot of theory on how to bake bread we talked about basic recipes and how you can calculate how much to use of which ingredient. All in all I am still amazed at how good a bit of flour, salt, water and yeast can be. I will share with you how we are making our sourdough starter below. There are many ways to make a starter but the goal of this exercise was to all use the same recipe and ingredients and then see what will happen. Since we all live in different areas of the country we will all have different results. Different temperatures in the kitchen, different water etc. etc. There are so many variables that influence the final result that it is dazzling sometimes.
I am taking care of my little sourdough ‘baby’ and I am sure you will hear all about the results of the second class next week! Want to know how to make your own sourdough starter? Here is the manual!
- 450 gr rye flour
- 450 gr water
Mix 200 gr of the rye and 200 gr of water together with a spatula and leave outside of the fridge for a day.
Day 2 to 6
Each day add 50 gr of rye and 50 gr of water to the mix and again let it stand outside of the fridge. After day six keep it cool at around 10C. A cellar would be ideal but ofcourse a fridge would work too if you do not have a cellar.
You will start to see something happening after about 2-3 days.. The volume will expand and there might be airbubbles...