I’ve tried baking bread multiple times, but never really got anywhere with it. I’d knock up a loaf and it would be ok at best and that would be that. I wouldn’t bother to go back and try again, or work out how I could have improved it. This lack of effort has been nagging at me recently when planning what to bake, so I decided that bread will be my next challenge and I did what I always do in that scenario, I bought a book. It was a difficult choice between Paul Hollywood‘s 100 Great Breads and Dan Lepard‘s The Handmade Loaf, but as Dan’s most recent book, Short & Sweet, has yet to let me down I was swayed in his direction. So The Handmade Loaf arrived a couple of weeks ago and today I finally get to bake from it.
But I don’t do challenges by half. Dan’s book has a few ‘normal’ bread recipes in it, but it’s main focus is sourdough, so my first challenge is to make a sourdough starter. Dan’s recipe uses a mix made from raisins, yoghurt, rye flour, strong white flour and water. It has photographs of what it should look like each day of the first week and advice on storing it and maintaining it. So let’s see if I can get it that far. For day 1 all I had to do was mix the ingredients together and find it a home in my kitchen.