My first loaf was a bit heavy but quite edible and was polished off quite quickly. Then, inspired by a recipe in Yoke Mardewi's book Wild Sourdough that I borrowed from our city library, I made Beetroot and Feta Sourdough ...
which looks a little strange to start off with....
....but ended up being very tasty although after 38 years of marriage I found out that the CEO doesn't like feta cheese ;-) I may not have ever served up anything with feta cheese in it before. LOL! By the way, if you are interested in buying a book by Yoke Mardewi, her latest book is Wild Sourdough by Hand and is available on her website.
After my first couple of attempts at making sourdough I did some reading on Fig Jam and Lime Cordial as there is an extensive list of recipes there including A Basic Sourdough Tutorial which I found to be so very helpful.
After I got a bit more confident with making some loaves I wondered if I could dry my starter so that I would have a backup in the future and also if I wanted to give some away. I followed the process that Celia used here and spread my starter out thinly so that it would dry quickly. Earlier I had started up another batch but it was much too thick and by the third day was getting rather smelly so I tossed that and started again. It was a 30C day when I filled a couple of trays with starter and it didn't take long to dry out.
So then I broke it up and put it in the food processor to break it up more...
... then it was put into a ziplock bag and went to live in the fridge until needed.
At the weekend I thought I would test the dried starter and see if it would wake up again. I couldn't tell how much needed to be used when I checked on Simply Joolz so I just used what I had which was about 1/4 cup and added 1/4 cup baker's flour and 1/4 cup cooled boiled and filtered water.
After a few hours I gave it another feed and I could see bubbles which looked promising.
I gave Gertrude a nightcap of 1/2 cup baker's flour and 1/2 cup water and put her to bed for the night and by the next morning she was looking very happy indeed and ready to go. I was quite chuffed that I had been able to make my own starter from scratch and was then able to dry and revive it as well.
I had a look online to see what other methods are used for drying sourdough starter and came across this process on Breadtopia.com. So I gave that a try as well.
It worked as well...
...and was dried for future use as I certainly didn't need any more sourdough at the time. :-) I don't make fabulous loaves like Celia who gives hers away to neighbours and friends but who knows, with a lot more practice, perhaps mine will become 'giveable' if there is such a word. I also am conscious of using the oven more often to bake bread and don't want a huge power bill even though we do have solar panels. So I will probably just make a couple of loaves to freeze each week. Also I put on weight very easily when I eat a lot of bread and that's not healthy.
With the cooler weather I find it is taking longer before the starter is nice and bubbly and ready for the other ingredients to be added. With my last experiment I ended up standing beside the oven half asleep late at night waiting for the loaves to cook. I didn't wait for them to rise as much as they should have before baking otherwise I would have been up all night.
This photo was taken close to midnight. LOL! I put my dough into tins and when the bread has completely cooled, I slice it up and then freeze it to be used for toasted sandwiches. That works for us although I know that many people use bannetons.
I know there are probably lots of readers out there who make great sourdough loaves. Do you experiment with recipes or use the same one most of the time? I want to make some that have more fibre in them so will continue to experiment. I would love to know what ingredients you use if you want to share.