Sourdough bread is absolutely delicious and can be really easy and cheap to make. It’s the way bread was made for thousands of years, containing healthy bacteria for the gut, and the long fermenting process partly breaks down and digests the gluten. We’re not experts by any means, and are quite lazy bakers, but we’re successfully making lovely sourdough for pennies. Tesco sometimes sell off 1kg bags of plain flour for 15p (in baskets round the store) and those are what we’ve been using here, each one making just over two loaves.
We made this starter recipe using grapes and it certainly created a wonderfully frothy active starter that sits on a windowsill and is called Herbert! There was no wasting the discard when we first fed Herbert; we made pizza dough and left it to sit all day, then topping with tomato sauce, tomatoes and Asda free from Mozzarella (they have much cheaper free from cheese than the other supermarkets). It was gorgeous.
There’s a basic sourdough bread recipe here. What follows are our lazy variations!
The first bread we made was a herby olive oil focaccia. We kneaded the dough once, coated in herbs and olive oil and left it to rise all day in a tin before baking late afternoon along with dinner. It tasted amazing.
Then we tried olive bread, and returned to the dough after a couple of hours and gave it a second kneading and shaping. This one was left to rise overnight and baked in the morning. Again, the taste of this stuff is delectable.
It was great sliced up and served with our tomato rice soup.
The loaf pictured at the top of the page was the result of putting it into an oven that was not pre-heated (told you, no expertise here). The high rise happened during the lower temperatures, and we love it.
For a more expert view and LOTS of ideas, we highly recommend the book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading. We’re going to be trying a jalapeño bread from there soon.
And in the garden we’ve been sowing some seeds that are good to put in during July:
- Autumn King carrots
- Rainbow Chard
- Beautiful stripey Chioggia beetroot
- and Mammoth Dill round the edges of beds – it might make it into a loaf at some point. Dill also grows really well in pots.