Nov 27th
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Eco News Self Reliance Sourdough Baking
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Eco News

bread_sough_dough_283pxFire up the wood-fired or cobb oven and return to nourishing, handmade bread in the family home, and at a local level. Depending on your wood-fired oven design they will hold their heat for days because of the firebrick lining and the effective design. To begin the Sourdough bread making the ingredients are carefully weighed. Using organic flour, water, yeast and salt. These are then placed in a mixer to mix the dough, which is placed into a tub and allowed to rise in a warm room for about an hour. The risen dough is then knocked down again, formed into loaves (no bread tins are used) and allowed to rise again before being placed in the wood-fired oven. Commercial yeasts is insufficient for the second rising of the dough, making bread too doughy. It is best to develop your own starter.

Sourdough is a symbiotic culture of lactobacilli and yeasts used to leaven bread. Sourdough bread has a distinctively tangy or sour taste (hence its name), due mainly to the lactic acid and acetic acid produced by the lactobacilli. Sourdough bread is made by using a small amount (20-25%) of "Starter" dough (sometimes known as "the mother sponge"), which contains the yeast culture, and mixing it with new flour and water. Part of this resulting dough is then saved to use as the Starter for the next batch.

Cob Ovens are a relatively inexpensive way to bake, with all the benefits of wood-fire such as a hot hearth. Materials are raw and often sourced locally from the land.  This Cob Ovens is a design from Build your own Earth Oven by Kuko Denzer and was built leading up to the 2008 Forest Festival held in Jackeys Marsh, Tasmania. (external link)

Lyn Cunningham from Wild Crust Bakery produces traditional sourdough breads which are baked in a Allan Scott designed and built wood fired oven.

Lyn's starter recipe was in the book written by her oven builder, Allan Scott. She says the starter has taken time to develop its strength, but gave predictable results after a few months. She says a starter is like having a child; it needs warmth and regular feeding, so her starter was given the name Bruce. Bruce must be taken on holidays and fed regularly; alternately he has to be put into care with an understanding family to maintain his viability. Bruce is constantly developing and his performance is always improving in many ways. He also add a unique natural flavour to the sourdough bread Lyn bakes.

Lyn's Top Baking Tips

# Keep Leven as a starter

# Your starter will develop and improve with age, feed it regularly and look after it

# Mix until the dough isn't sticky and when taking a small piece you can stretch it apart to see through it like a window effect

# To test if the bread has been proved sufficiently, press a finger into it and if it bounces back quickly it is not ready. Wait until it slowly returns to normal.

# Check regularly in the later stages of baking. When the top and bottom sound hollow when tapped, the loaf is ready

Wild crust bakery holds one day workshops at the bakery which is located in Glenburn

If you are interested in attending please contact Lyn Cunningham 5797 8433 or 0438 063 824 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sourdough Starters

Sourdough bread is easy to make if you have a good sourdough starter. A true Sourdough Baker understands the value of time, and of course, timing.

It generally takes around 2 - 3 weeks to cultivate a reliably fermenting starter (called 'active' starter). Starters usually become stronger and more reliable over time.

1. Mix 4 cups organic flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar. Add enough water to make a light batter, cover lightly with cheesecloth or similar and let stand in a warm place until it begins to bubble and work, giving off a pleasant odour. The ingredients pick up or attract wild yeasts in the air. Occasionally the original starter will begin to have an awful odour; just throw it out and start again.

2. Put 2 cups organic flour into a jar or crock, add 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water, and set the whole batch in a warm place, lightly covered.

3. Mix 2 cups organic flour with 1 package dry yeast stirred in and enough lukewarm water to make a thick batter. Let stand in a warm place for 24 hours.

4. Use warm milk instead of water, using the same method as above. Raw milk right from the cow is another milk version.

5. Let a cup of milk stand for a day or so in an uncovered container at room temperature. Then add 1 cup organic flour, mix and let stand for another couple of days or until it begins working.

6. Grape Starter: 1 bunch organic grapes, preferably seedless + 2 cups organic, unbleached bread flour + 2 cups water. Lightly crush the grapes then place 2 cups of grapes in a glass bowl. Add the flour and water and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture has become thick and runny, like warm honey.

Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let sit at room temperature overnight. The following day, check the starter for bubbles of gas rising to the surface - this indicates fermentation. Be patient, this can take up to five days.

Once the starter has begun to ferment, strain to remove the grapes and add a sprinkling of flour and water to the mixture.

You can use the starter immediately or you can let it sit. The longer you let the starter ferment, the stronger the flavour of the bread will be. The starter can be stored in the freezer and used at a later date. Cover in plastic before freezing.

7. Share a friend's

8. Purchase a Sourdough Starter (external link)

# Made in Tasmania using organic flour
# Includes fermentation and baking instructions
# Companion Bakery will send this starter and recipe just about anywhere. For Australian customers the starter is sent fresh for quicker activation. Dried for international orders (with activation instructions included).

9. Around the web ....

Welcome to SourDom's beginners blog ... How to make your own starter.

Sourdough Starter from Scratch @

Starting a Starter @

10. Powdered Sourdough Starter

So many people tell me they have problems establishing their sourdough starter in the beginning. There is no teaching patience, unfortunately. They eventually come good, but you just have to keep going at them. The sourdough starters, I mean - not the people. The people are a different story altogether.

sourdoughbaker (external link)


Ovencrafters began as a request, from Laurel Robertson who is a friend and also the author of the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. She asked me to build a brick oven for her kitchen. When her first loaves emerged from that oven I knew that something lost was miraculously being re birthed. Since this beginning in 1982 many other long lost aspects of bread baking, milling and growing grains have been rediscovered; even wood heat has revealed itself to be the only ecologically sound, sustainable and non polluting source of energy for small scale bakeries. However it is largely the inimitable deep penetrating heat of this new generation of masonry ovens that has triggered much of this work. Ovencrafters oven designs have been developed in the field over the last 25 years culminating in a type of oven that never existed before this. These oven constitute a radical departure in building technique and use that has made it possible for the first time for small rural based home and village bakeries to be viable and competitive with the industry at any level. With the ongoing loss of middle class occupations throughout western societies, many with even moderate skills and capital can create an invaluable small business in their communities that will find ready support from them in return. Many are finding for the first time the joy of meaningful work in the bosom of their communities and free from the distant hidden grip of the corporate world at last. Ovencrafters’ truly revolutionary oven designs and self building processes are inspiring a return to nourishing, handmade bread in the family home, and at a local level.

Welcome to The Fresh Loaf, a community for amateur artisan bakers and bread enthusiasts.

This site contains featured recipes, lessons, book reviews, a community forum and recipe exchange, and baker blogs (home of the infamous Bake-Offs).Sourdough Companion are a friendly community of bakers (of all levels) interested in Sourdough bread - bread that is risen naturally using wild yeasts.

Recipes @ brasseriebread

Sourdough Home What can we say? We love bread, and our feelings are well summed up in two quotes.

    "It isn't bread that feeds you; it is life and the spirit that feed you through bread."
    Angelus Silesius, in Der Cherubinische Wandersmann

And we feel there is no better bread than bread made with sourdough. As Dr. Ed Wood (author World Sourdoughs from Antiquity: Authentic recipes for modern bakers) summed it up,

    "10,000 years later, and there's no better way to raise bread!"

In the beginning, all risen breads were sourdough, or naturally leavened, breads, and there is no real reason they can't be today. The move to using commercial baking yeast was brought about to save time, not to make better bread. With practice, you can get the taste, crumb and rise you want from sourdough.

Happy Sourdough Baking!


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