Do Sourdough —Slow Bread for Busy Lives by Andrew Whitley. DoBookCo £8.99 ISBN:978-1-907974-11-3
Making sourdough bread needs only flour, water, salt and a little time. But what if time is the one thing you don’t have. Do Sourdough – Slow Bread for Busy Lives is baker Andrew Whitley’s second book on bread making. A baker for over 30 years, Andrew’s expertise was recognised in 2011 with a BBC Food and Farming Special Judges’ Award for ‘changing the way we think about bread’.
Do Sourdough has two purposes, to dispel the myths that make sourdough seem complicated and intimidating; and to show how slow fermentation, with all it’s benefits, is both easy to manage and ideally suited to today’s busy lifestyles. As a bread maker, and having read many books on the subject, I can tell you that ‘Do Sourdough’ does exactly what it says, it dispels those myths. All those who thought they don’t have time to make bread, let alone sourdough are in for a real treat.
This is a book that talks to you, works with you, makes sourdough understandable and achievable, regardless of your lifestyle. Experienced bread makers and novices alike will find this book extremely helpful. Following a brief introductory explanation to dispel the myths around sourdough, there is some useful and enlightening information about industrialised bread making in the UK. Did you know that in this country there is no legal definition for sourdough? Interesting and Andrew explains the process behind the ‘pseudoughs’ the ‘sourdoughs’ that appear in many in-store bakeries.
In the first chapter, there’s clear instructions to take the bread maker through the three stages of sourdough; the starter, production sourdough and final dough. There are recipes for both Rye and wheat starters with good advice on ‘starter housekeeping, general advice for handling starters of all kinds. Rye starters are a favourite and apparently the one you would take to your desert Island.The next two stages, making the production sourdough and the final dough are again, explained clearly, and there’s a good checklist to ensure your loaf is baked. As the author says, “success with sourdough has a lot to do with what you are looking for, and at”.
It’s a clear and reassuring way to learn the different processes and there is some very useful advice throughout the book. ‘Be patient’, and interestingly, “there’s no right or wrong way of kneading”. Handy to know and it’s tips like these that will leave you feeling more confident by the end of chapter 2. The detailed recipes for different sourdough breads are uncomplicated and easy to follow and there’s also a recipe for an overnight, no-knead sourdough. Extremely useful if you find yourself short of starter anytime. The troubleshooting section with some FAQs is very helpful and will answer most questions, particularly those about problems with starters.
If baking bread has been your sourdough experience then the chapter on ‘Freestyle baking’ will confidently take you to a new level. “Once you’ve got the hang of it, baking with sourdough is tremendously liberating. That starter in your fridge is a powerhouse of possibilities”. Sourdough ciabatta, soft rolls, pizza, crispbreads and crumpets, almost very kind of bread can be made with sourdough. Sweet sourdough is covered and there’s a heavenly recipe for a ginger and ginger sourdough bannock.
This book is undoubtedly an invaluable reference for bread makers and those who long to make sourdough, but have been put off by the so called time consuming complicated process.
As the Do Sourdough title suggests, it’s about slow bread for busy lives and the final chapter has suggested schedules to help bakers slot the vital fermentation time into periods that will fit with various lifestyles. ” The sourdough process requires many hours, but not of your time”.
If you’re interested in learning more about sourdough or attending one of Andrew’s breadmaking courses, have a look at Breadmatters website. There’s a range of courses to choose from and at Breadmatters you’ll always be taught by Andrew.