This is a tale about fun loving party animal Hamish who finds himself responsible for becoming the sole bread winner for his family and how he finally comes to realise that life doesn’t always deliver what’s expected…
Bread making day had finally arrived in the Lemon Grove household. After three weeks of feeding young Hamish, he was, according to “The Bourke Street Bakery (BSB)” strong enough to start producing offspring.
Now also according to BSB, on bread making day you have to feed your starter 3 times: once at 1pm, again at 9pm then finally at 6am… what?!!…6am on a Saturday morning?… Are these guys crazy? No they are bakers and 6am is probably the middle of the day to them. So, ok in the name of scientific experimentation and the lure of a freshly baked loaf of sourdough I resigned myself to following these rather strict guidelines. But, for the sake of disclosure, I would like to point out that my plans for freshly baked bread on Saturday crashed and burned when I found out that bread making day actually takes three days. Day 1 is to feed Hamish 3 times. Day 2 is to make the dough and rest it overnight in the fridge. Day 3 is the final prove and bake. Making sourdough bread at this point was starting to feel a wee bit tedious and time consuming. The question of course is…Will it be worth it?
I did make a couple of mistakes with this bread, the first was I didn’t keep to the scheduled feeding times. According to BSB you have an hour leeway on the feed times and I missed the first one by 2 hours – whoops. The second mistake: I misread the instructions so instead of discarding most of the starter and working with 100gms, I began with 800gm of starter. By the time I discovered my mistake it was too late to turn back so I continued on just to see what would happen.
What happened was the dough just didn’t rise enough.
Making the dough itself was relatively easy, just mix together the flour, starter and water. Rest for 20mins, add salt and mix dough again. Prove for 1 hour, knock back and fold dough. Prove for another hour then rest in the fridge overnight. I knew things were going pear shaped when the dough only increased in size marginally not at all like the rise I would generally get out of yeasted bread. Things didn’t get any better once I took the dough out of the fridge the next day for the final prove. Four hours ticked by and there was only a very small increase in size…..I figured things were just not going to “improve” from here …
Rather than wait any longer I did a quick prayer to the patron saint of bread for a bit of miraculous intervention and into the oven it went.
So no, in this case, life didn’t deliver a cracking loaf of dark crusty sour dough as expected, but rather a humble, small, very pale, but tasty loaf of bread.
Was it worth the effort? I think so, yes. It was actually fun to do, and even though it wasn’t the perfect loaf of sour dough Hamish’s imperfect loaf was tasty when teamed up with a ploughman’s lunch of ham, cheese, tomato chutney and a beer.
So the sourdough project continues and today I am starting another loaf. Hopefully we have more success with this one, after all I have grown quite attached to Hamish and I know he has more in him than one small rather pale loaf of bread.
Current score: Sour Dough 1 …. Lemon Grove 0.