Little Ken

Kenneth, my sourdough starter,

has spawned Little Ken, my very first sourdough loaf!

If you have been inspired to give Sourdough a go, and have started your starter, then this is the recipe from Aidan Chapman at The Phoenix Bakery that we were given at the River Cottage Bread Day,so you can have make your very own delicious Sourdough!

The night before you want to make your bread you need to ‘refresh’ your starter:

  • pour half of your starter away (you can save it for pancakes, Yorkshire puddings etc), then add 100g strong white bread flour (or whatever flour you’ve been using for your starter) and 100ml water, and mix together until smooth
  • cover with a cloth or clean towel and leave at room temperature overnight

To make your bread you will need:

  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 100g strong wholemeal flour
  • 10g salt
  • 125g of your starter
  • 325g water

And this is what you need to do:

  • Place the two flours and the salt into a large mixing bowl and combine
  • Pour in the starter and the water
  • Gently bring together the flour and liquid to form a dough-DON’T KNEAD IT!!! It should take about 2minutes of gentle mixing to fully combine
  • Cover the dough and leave for an hour
  • Uncover the dough, it should have grown a little. Fold the dough over on itself and gently turn it. Cover the bowl again and leave for another hour
  • Fold for a second time and cover and leave for an hour
  • Fold for a third time, being really gentle this time! Cover and leave for 2hrs
  • Gently take the dough out of the bowl, onto a floured surface and shape it into a round (see this clip from You Tube for how to do it-it’s hard to explain!) Cover with a tea towel, still on your worktop and leave for 10mins
  • If you have a proving basket, then dust it with flour. If not, place a clean tea towel in a suitably shaped bowl/basket and dust liberally with flour
  • Mould your dough into a nice tight round and place seam side up into your bowl/basket
  • Cover and leave to rise for 4hours (or you can place in the fridge at this point overnight)
  • Pre-heat your oven to 220C (gas mark 8) and if you have a baking stone put it in the oven now
  • Dust a thin baking sheet with semolina and gently turn your dough onto it
  • With a sharp blade slash a cross or criss cross pattern on top of your dough
  • If you have a baking stone, gently slide your dough onto this in the oven. If you don’t, then place tyour dough in the oven on the baking sheet
  • Spritz the oven all round with water from a spray bottle and close the door
  • Bake for 20mins, then turn the loaf through 180degrees, and bake for another 15mins.

Now I realise that this is a very long list of instructions, and it looks like the process takes all day, and I’m sure everyone will be thinking they could never fit it in and would never attempt to BUT, on the bread course, we were given the distinct impression that all of these timings are quite flexible. Aidan’s advice was to start it in the evening and come out and fold the dough during the ad breaks on the TV! You can then put your dough in the fridge overnight to prove. It can stay in the firdge for up to four days. So my plan is to make 2 at once, put them in the fridge. Bring one out the next morning to bake, and the other one can stay in there for 2-3days until we need another loaf, and then I can bake it when we need it.

If you do this, then you just need to get the dough out of the fridge when you get up to allow it to come up to room temperature for about an hour, before baking.

Please don’t be put off by the recipe and the timeframes. It is all quite flexible I think. You just need to have a bit of a think about you can work it into your own routine. It can be done! And it really does make the most delicious bread, with such a lovely open texture (even mine on my 1st attempt did!), and it lasts well too.

I may have burnt the crust slightly…

Not sure why this happened..?!


So please give it a go. And let me know if you do, and send some pics!

PS. Some questions for any sourdough gurus out there:

  • The crust was a bit burnt and quite tough-I baked it at 220-240C in my oven-should I turn it down a bit?
  • Why did it rise unevenly?
  • On my second attempt, the bread was nice and holey around the edges, but less so in the middle. Why??!

6 thoughts on “Little Ken

  1. Yay for holes! Looks very nice indeed. I am by no means an expert and my crusts are by no means perfect, but I tend to bake my loaves at 200C fan assisted and that works for me. I shall be checking back to see if you get answers to your other questions, as my loaves suffer from similar problems. Although, to be honest, I quite look the wonky homemade look. You could buy perfectly formed loaves of bread in the shops!

  2. Pingback: Breadmaking: a progress report | Making, Baking and Raking

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