Just a year ago, I (Yana) decided to learn to bake sourdough…
It was after our first Live Online class.
I have so many other hobbies and wanted to leave this one to Lenko.
It took me more than 5 years to get my hands into the sourdough but now I bake almost every day.
And who would’ve thought that I will be so addicted to the process and wouldn’t miss a day of baking. There is something so therapeutic, so relaxing and beautiful in every step.
It is magical and we want to spread this love by creating our classes.
This blog is my work and I write the content on all social media platforms as well as here.
Lenko is the master baker, he teaches the classes and leaves the rest of this project to me, which I am very glad as I love what I do.
I have one class at the moment and this is The Brunch with Kvas- The Discard Workshop.
It is pure for fun, to use up what we have left from our refreshments and to meet again ( most of the participants have already been in our classes and is a lovely opportunity to get together and create some delicious bakes) as well as meet new sourdough lovers.
In this space, I will be sharing my experiences, recipes, tricks and tips that Lenko gives me all the time and I discover by myself also.
So since September last year I bake 6-10 loaves in bulk, sometimes in a day, sometimes in a few. I find this way helps me learn and improve my skills and I am trying to catch up with Lenko, hm…
Some people might ask- What do you do with so much bread?!
Well, I sell some of them to our local community, but most of them I share with neighbours,
Bread is to be shared and we would love more people to learn about sourdough and enjoy it.
Anyway, I decided to start with a little introduction and back to basics.
With time I found my favourite tools and I will share them with you, hoping that will be great help to you too.
I shall start with my favourite:
My spatulas ( wooden and plastic) - Honestly, I can’t imagine my life without them. I use them from the start ( aka Starter) to finish ( sometimes they help me to check the bottom of the bread, pizza, all sorts of bakes).
We always encourage our students to clean the jars after refreshments and the dough bowl.
Clean jars - means you can easily monitor how your starter is doing, is it behaving and does it need more attention.
It is very important to learn this from day one and turn this into practice and part of the feeding routine.
We use glass jars. Some are better and more comfortable than others.
We love Weck jars as they have rounded corners and the lids can be placed clipped or unclipped.
They are super easy to clean and dry. We have a few different sizes and use them all the time.
Another very easy to use jar is the small Nutella jars. (And isn’t a good reason to get someNutella?!) They come with a plastic lid and they are with rounded bottoms, which makes them easy to clean and stir.
...but any jar with a lid will do. So there is no need to invest in a jar if you have some laying around the house.
Clean bowls - No mess, no stress. Once you have dry dough on the sides of the bowl, you will find it difficult to scrape off and wash the bowl later as well as you might incorporate those dry bits into your bake and that’s no good.
So spatulas, here you come. You don’t need a lot of them.
A wooden one to mix the starter and the dough with.
A soft plastic/ silicon one for your jars.
And a little one for your mini starter - the one we feed regularly.
Scales - without them baking is kind of impossible.
I remember my great grandmother. She was an amazing cook and baker. I have never seen her using scales. How did she do it...?! - I have no idea. Maybe that’s why she couldn’t teach us her skills. Everything she did was by Eye...
So electric scales are recommended. They don’t need to be fancy. Just accurate.
Scraper - well, we all know that it is part of the baker’s essentials. It is like the extension to our hands. We use a plastic one to shape and scrape off the dough from the bowl, and a metal one to cut the dough and separate it. The ones in the photos are our favourite ones, we have been using them for years.
Flour shaker - dusting sprinkler...
There are so many out there but look out for the one with smaller holes. You can control better the amount of flour you will need for different purposes.
Thermometer - Essential to monitor the temperature of your starter and the dough.
It is extremely important to measure the temperature of the starter, especially for those of who you are just starting with sourdough.
Infrared thermometer - is another very helpful tool to have in hand.
We use it to measure the temperature of the pot which we will bake in, as it needs to reach a certain temperature before the bread goes in the oven. Perfect to measure the dough’s temperature also without the need to puncture it and destroy its structure.
Bread knife - It is an extremely important tool especially for sourdough loaves. If your knife is not sharp enough, it will be very difficult to cut a good and even slice.
Flour Scoop - if you have a big sack of flour this is essential. We have sacks of 25kg and a good flour scoop is very helpful.
Silicon lids - we have some for the cups and jars, and some big ones for our bowls.
This way we try to avoid using plastic cling film all the time as well as they are very easy to wash and reuse again.
Shower caps - these are perfect to cover the bannetons ( proving baskets ) - before they go in the fridge/or to sit and wait for the dough to proof. I use them to cover some of the bowls as I don’t have a lot of the silicon lids ( they come in sets in different sizes ) and when I bake bigger batch of loaves I separate the dough in different bowls, so I need a lot of lids. Shower caps come to the rescue.
In another post I will share the pots and pans we use to bake our bread, focaccia, ciabattas and all other delicious dough creations as well as what tools we use for different bakes.
I hope you found something useful in this post and if you have a specific question that needs an answer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Meanwhile....Keep baking with love and a smile.
Yana and Lenko