This is a wholemeal spelt sourdough using an organic white flour starter culture as the only raising agent. The shape of these loaves is called a ‘batard’.
This is a light rye loaf made with a blend of organic white and organic rye sourdough starters plus a little additional fresh yeast for a lighter texture. Also, I used a loaf tin to try to create a more easily toastable bread. The little slices of the first loaf were hard to get out of the toaster!
1. One of the most prized parts of sourdough is the chewy crust and to create this you need steam in the oven. To create this I crank up the oven (I did about 220C fan-forced) with a tray of water sitting on the bottom of the oven. By the time the oven heats up and is ready for the bread to go in the water is normally bubbling and you have your steam to create your nice crust.
Julia Child has a different method, she uses a piping hot brick which she adds to the tray of water to create a real burst of steam.
2. I find that the loaves burn quite quickly in my oven so I put the racks as low as possible and turn the heat down to 200 or 190 if the bread starts to brown too much. If it looks like it is going to go very brown you can cover the loaf with alfoil.
3. Bourke St Bakery’s cookbook recommends using filtered water and organic unbleached flour.
4. There is a trick that I haven’t used yet but am keen to try. Julia suggests using a terracotta tile to bake your bread on which you pre-heat, like when making pizzas the Italian way. This is meant to give an extra push from the heat underneath the loaf and help give a higher loaf.
Next step is to try some raisin bread, and some lighter fluffier loaves too…