Sourdough is getting more and more popular with the speed of light.
More and more people want to try to bake it at home. As the conventional shop bought sourdough loaves are not good enough, most of us would love to try and bake it ourselves.
A lot of us have a go and then give up as it takes some time or some more understanding of the process. It is very different from the techniques used for bakes with dry yeast.
There is so much information out there - social media, youtube, blogs, magazine articles… Sourdough is everywhere and it is super overwhelming once you have decided to have a go and looked through all those channels and platforms.
From the Starter to the baking options... Everyone has their own ways of doing it, opinions, techniques, tools and ingredients.
It is crazy, right?!
So I decided to write this post, just to help you out and give You - the sourdough beginner and enthusiast some direction.
Here are some of my best advice I can think of:
First of all,
Stick to one recipe, to only one person who you are following on social media, or youtube channel. Is it the technique you think you will find easy to replicate?!
If the answer is Yes, then try it out. See how you find it.
Stick to one or two flours and make it at least a few times. See the result.
Then, if you are happy, stay with it for a little while.
Master that technique and if you think you want to improve it or do something differently, do that.
Make one small change at a time. This way you will know what you have changed and if it works. Or not.
Then change the flour. Experiment with different ingredients.
Participate in some Facebook groups.
Ask Questions, show your bakes and see what people would advise.
Get on course :)) but before you do so, research and read all the information provided as there are a lot of courses that are claiming to be sourdough, or promise to show you the whole process but very often this is not the case.
How about the starter?
The process of creating your own is easy but challenging at times.
The temperature is crucial for your new pet.
We have a whole blog post dedicated to starters so, feel free to check it out.
Please don’t keep big amounts of starter. It is very easy to create levain.
We have seen people refreshing 100s of grams every day and this is absolutely unnecessary.
If you are refreshing it on a regular basis, 10g starter with 10g water and 10g flour is perfectly enough.
If you still have a lot of starter left, we have plenty of recipes with sourdough to inspire you how to use it up and not throw it in the bin. Compost it if you don’t feel like baking more.
Look after your new pet with love and care!
To begin with, you will need to find the best spot in your home where your starter will be happier.
Experiment with feeding it with different flours once it is ready to be used.
But this might take up to 14-16 days.
Find your most comfortable tools too.
There are so many different brands, shapes and sizes, even the most simple ones, like scraper- they come in so many different materials also.
Some are lighter, some are more flexible, some are smoother and some are sharper than others…
We have a blog post dedicated to the essential sourdough tools that are required to get started.
Watch a lot of videos, research but definitely, stick with one person for a while.
Bear in mind that sometimes they don’t share the whole process, everyone has a little secret that doesn’t want to give away. Which is normal, ofcourse.
That's why Live classes and courses are the best. You can ask your questions straight away and you get clear answers.
And bake bake bake.
This is the key, bake a lot, explore and enjoy.
Sometimes you will get it spot on, sometimes you will forget it on the kitchen counter and it will turn into a soup, but this happens to all of us.
Whatever you do, enjoy it and don’t give up.
I would say, make videos of you following the process and then watch it, see what you do right and wrong, how you handling the dough, how you following all the steps, are you missing something?!
And don’t invest in expensive tools.
The best thing about this hobby is that you need so little and the outcome is so fantastic.
Water, Salt and Flour.
You will only need:
Proofing basket. A towel. A bowl. A scraper. Scales, thermometer, a simple blade to score it, but that’s not a necessity - you don’t have to score it.
See not too much.
You can even proof it in you colander…
And a pot with a lid…
Don't be scared to ask for help.
With time you will find the best combinations of flours and ingredients, you will find the techniques that suit you best, you will learn to fit it in your daily schedule, you will find the best and comfortable tools to use.
Give yourself time and most importantly:
Sourdough teaches us patience!
I have to admit I am not the most patient person in the world, but since I have started baking sourdough, I am changing slowly. Even my husband said so...