Sourdough Pizza for Easter

This Easter happened to coincide with my birthday and Karen, Boris and I took our families to stay at a farm house for a little R&R. We stayed at the comfortable Billabong Cottage in Norway near Oberon on the western side of the Blue Mountains, about 3 hours from Sydney (Australia:). We decided to make the trip a bread holiday – not sure if that’s a thing, but it probably should be!

Karen was keen to perfect a fruit bread we have been working on. Boris wanted to perfect our freshly milled flour recipe and I … I just wanted sleep. As luck would have it I had to stay awake and work on the sourdough pizza. Oh, and we also decided to make a freshly milled sourdough rye – just to mix it up a bit.

Bread Education

Every home has a proving cabinet

Where I’m living, winter is fast approaching and the annual problem of dough proving at home is rearing up again. It doesn’t get too cold in Sydney in winter (compared to Europe or North America), but because of that very fact most of us don’t have central heating. The house can easily get down to between 5 – 10°C (41 – 50°F) overnight and 12 – 16°C (54 – 61°F) through the day, which is a little cool for bulk fermentation unless I extended the times beyond my schedule. Most of my bread dough has a DTO (Dough To Oven time) of around 24 hours. So in these cool environments my timings are thrown out. Of course, I could reschedule to extend the time frames but I really want it to fit my current times.

Recently, it finally dawned on me: “why in gods name am I not using my kitchen oven!”

So, with the last couple of batches of bread, I used the oven for proving the sourdough overnight and for the final proof the next day. The results were fantastic and most importantly – predictable!

Bread Boss

Adding an Autolyse to Your Recipe in Bread Boss

I recently got some feedback from a Bread Boss user asking how to add an autolyse to their recipe. I thought this was a great opportunity to write a post on how to do that for all the Bread Boss users. I started writing up instructions with lots of screen shots, when it dawned on me: this would be much better as a video recording using the app. So that’s what I’ve done. Hopefully the quality is not too bad and you can get what you need from it (click the video to start playing):

Bread Education

Back to School

Last Saturday Karen, Tim and I went to the Sydney TAFE (Technical and Further Education) College to join the Artisan Bread Making course, with Boris as the Teacher. This was a simple one day course designed to introduce students to sourdough bread making. My main motivation for going was to see how Boris teaches in a formal setting and to see some larger scale machinery for bread making (I’ve always had a fantasy to own a serious dough mixer like a Hobart).

Being an IT professional, where most of your work is done sitting on your ass, it was quite an eye opener to see how hard it is working in a commercial bakery, much less teaching a herd of deer how to make sourdough bread.

Bread Education Recipes

Open Sesame!

Did a great variation on our classic mixed grain: inverted the bulk/retardation ferments and added a coating of sesame seeds.

Boris was over at my place a few weeks back and commented on my mixed grain bread just out of the oven. I was all pleased and proud to show off, but… “Looks good mate, but its a bit dense.” What I thought was a fine crumb turned out to be crummy. The good thing about Boris is that he’s not just an armchair critic: he’s an expert that offers solutions for every problem he diagnoses.

Ingredients Recipes

Project Semolina: A less Sour Sourdough

One of the first questions posted on our site was asking for a way to keep the good properties of naturally leavened sourdough while minimizing the actual sour taste. I have to admit that I’ve often come across people new to the sourdough experience complaining that the bread is too sour. I suspect that the white poison (sugar) permeated throughout our food industry has altered peoples sense of taste, creating a baseline far from that of our not too distant past, when all bread was ‘sourdough’. I decided that this would be a perfect home baking experiment: Project Semolina.

Bread Education

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, its Sourdough on the go…

This is my first post, and unlike Boris, my perspective is from a humble home baker. I’ve been baking now for a few years and in spite of being a professional software engineer, I’ve managed to crack through the ‘bread ceiling’ and come up with some good and consistent results.

This Christmas we (both Boris and my families) decided to visit the Tasmanian highlands for a couple of week’s holiday and I thought it would be a great idea to bring Steve along. Steve is my sourdough starter.