I have one burnt arm and two burnt bottoms. Two burnt bottoms of sourdough loaves, that is. The oven remains my biggest bugbear in this sourdough baking lark. I’m getting the hang of everything else. Following the advice of David McGuinness, baker extraordinaire who co-founded Sydney groupie hangout Bourke Street Bakery, i’ve been doting on my sourdough starter — the concoction of flour and water that contains the fermented, natural yeast and bacteria necessary to help the dough rise and which gives the bread a unique, slightly sour taste.
When David told me he used to feed his starter every day i nearly died of shame. Mine had been languishing in the fridge for over a week — unfed, neglected. When he told me starters should be fed every six hours in the lead up to a bake, i took the starter he gifted me — Stella II — to work so it didn’t miss a feed. Yes, I’ve become a sourdough tragic. Continue reading
- Bake sourdough that has been retarding in fridge overnight
- Don’t get the shits when sourdough doesn’t work very well — again
- Make breadcrumbs from failed sourdough loaf
- Don’t waste an opportunity: write a blog post about why my sourdough sucks
- Go to Orange Grove farmers’ market for a Thirlmere chicken from The Free Range Butcher to satisfy craving for roast chook dinner
- Maybe buy some cheese from the farmers’ market
- And some pork and black pudding sausages from the market’s Scottish baker — David’s Larder
- And some sourdough
- Leave farmers’ market with some money still in purse
- Don’t eat all the pork and black pudding sausages
- Work out how to cook 2.5-kilo piece of pork loin in the fridge before it goes out of date … and who to cook it for
- Start a batch of chook poo tea
- Buy Bourke Street Bakery book — everyone raves about it, including Wayne at work (and it will help with the sourdough issue)
- Email Wayne about something — anything — and throw in the fact that he said he’d make banana cake and caramel sauce from the Bourke Street Bakery book on Sunday and bring it into work on Monday
- Stop thinking about banana cake and caramel sauce
- Read some more of White Truffles in Winter by N.M.Kelby, which imagines the world of the French chef Auguste Escoffier. Remember to breathe, even though the first chapter took your breath away.
- Make reservation at Arzak in San Sebastian for when I’m in town in July!
- Construct new compost bin – fingers crossed the rats don’t get into this one
- Organise a heist from the hen house
Dear loved one,
I’ve dedicated myself to cooking your dinners for over a decade. Sometimes slow-cooked, oftentimes quickly cooked, but nearly always home-cooked — none of this pre-made junk.
You know those mad half-day cook-a-thons i have in the kitchen on many a Sunday arvo? When every pan in the house gets used and i multi-task between making three or four bulk-sized meals, barefoot and with a beer in hand. That’s where many of those dinners are spawned — then packed up in the freezer for an easy week-night meal. Continue reading
Bourke Street Bakery, Marrickville
David McGuinness, co-founder of Bourke Street Bakery — which has a cult-like following of bread worshippers — has had his sourdough starter for about 12 years. It began life as a mixture of flour and water in a bucket on his kitchen bench. It took months of nurturing — regular feeding with more flour and water — until it had built up sufficient natural bacteria and yeast. It’s been alive and kicking ever since. McGuinness shares his secrets to baking good bread using a sourdough starter, rather than cultivated yeast. Continue reading
With its beautiful blue, intricately designed, padded cover, From India: Food, Family & Tradition by Kumar and Suba Mahadevan is a cookbook worth coveting.
I’m a big fan of the Mahadevan’s work. We’ve visited their first restaurant, Abhi’s in the Sydney suburb of Concord, for a number of years. We’ve taken friends there, celebrated birthdays there, consumed festival banquets there, and it’s fair to say we’ve never been disappointed by a meal. We’ve dined at its higher-end sibling, Aki’s, and I’ve ripped Kumar’s recipes out of newspapers, so it’s about time that they pulled their finger out and published a cookbook! Continue reading