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Inspired by the fact that making white bread was so much easier than I thought it would be and by the amazing soughdough we had at Pilgrims on the weekend I’ve decided it’s time to try my hand at making soughdough.

Soughdough, like ginger beer, needs a plant. So tonight I’ve started the soughdough starter.  By this time next week we’ll be chowing down on some homemade soughdough.  I’ll even be putting to use the raspberry jam, chilli relish and beetroot relish that I purchased from a lovely stall at the Milton Markets to use on our homemade soughdough, and I can’t wait.

All this baking, jam and preserve eating has me daydreaming about having my own little farm and making my own jams, preserves and relishes. Oh for the simple life…


10g (3/8oz) fresh yeast

300ml (10 floz) warm water

300g (10½ oz) prepared soughdough starter

300g (10½ oz) bread flour (baker’s flour)

100g (3½ oz) wholemeal plain flour

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

3 tablespoons (60ml/2 floz) extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

Soughdough Starter

125g (4½ oz) bread flour (baker’s flour)

125g (4½ oz) wholemeal plain flour

100g (3½ oz) plain natural yoghurt

250ml (8½ floz) apple juice

150g (5 oz) bread flour (baker’s flour), extra

1.  Soughdough Starter: Combine the bread flour, wholemeal flour, yoghurt and apple juice in a bowl and mix well.  Cover the bowl loosely with cling wrap and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.  Every day (at the same time of day) for the next 5 days you need to mix the starter, then sprinkle the top with 30g (1 oz) extra bread flour. By the 5th day your starter should be fermented – it will smell sour and feel spongy.  It is now ready to use.  (Leftover starter can be frozen for the later use.)

2.  To make the bread, place the yeast and water in the bowl of an electric mixer, and stir to dissolve.  Add the weighted starter, flours and sea salt to the bowl.  Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3.  Remove the dough hook, leaving the dough in the bow, and cover the bowl with cling wrap.  Prove in a warm place for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

4.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a loaf 40cm (16 in) long and place on to a greased baking tray.  Use a sharp knife to cut shallow slashes, 2cm (¾ in) apart, across the top of each loaf.   Drizzle loaves with olive oil, then sprinkle with the sea salt flakes.  Prove in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, until the dough has slightly risen.

5.  Preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F).

6.  Place the loaves into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180°C (355°F).  Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

Source: Bake: Essential Companion, Alison Thompson, page 22.

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