This post is a presentation of the essentials of sourdough bread baking, a collation of information I’ve acquired through months of inhabiting artisan bread baking forums, reading books by the bread gurus and – most important of all – trying many different sourdough bread recipes. Consider it a short-cut to your own wide wonderful world of artisan sourdough bread baking at home. Hopefully, I’ve included everything you need to know to get started. Continue reading Baking Sourdough Bread At Home: A Beginner’s Guide
I used to love family holidays as a kid. Every year, we’d drive down to Busselton and stay at a cottage in a beach-front ‘resort’ called Glenleigh, named after the owner’s daughters (yep, Glen and Leigh). They were enchanted summers. The old steam train in the park we’d clamber over until we became too old yet eyed off with enduring affection every time we passed it, the best pies I have ever tasted (still!), that endless mythic jetty, drive-in movies, raspberry squashes in frosty pilsener glasses from the Ship Hotel, and of course, sun sun sun, sand sand sand, sea sea sea…these are cherished memories.
If this post was about those good ol’ days at Busselton, I could rattle away effortlessly for hours. But it’s not, so I won’t. Besides, it wasn’t all good.
There were the hated swimming lessons, and stingers that invaded the bay in such numbers as to ruin the beach on some days. There were family squabbles and annoying excursions to scenic locales that I saw as merely depriving us of valuable time at the seaside. The worst aspect of these outings was lunchtime. Never was one for sitting on rugs on the gravelly ground of some national park BBQ area, battling swarming flies and resentful bull ants while my unappreciated and often irritated mother doled out her elaborately prepared esky tucker. So irksome were these outings to me that I ended up with “issues” about picnics and families that remain to this day.
One of the few upsides to those dreaded family excursions was the bread we’d buy in the then tiny towns of Dunsborough and Augusta. Continue reading Sourdough Rising: The Home Artisan Bread Baking Revolution
I watched a doco on TV recently on the erratic but – to my mind – much under-rated 60s UK band, The Small Faces. Their 1968 ‘concept’ album Ogden’s Nutgone Flake, a psychedelic rock classic, was one of the first albums I bought. I still treasure this unique work – for the great music, the warped and inspired narrative in “Unwinese” by Stanley Unwin, and the eccentric fold-out tobacco tin cover (in good nick, this album is now a prize collectors’ item fetching $300+ …but I’d never sell mine).
One of my favourite tracks is Song Of A Baker. Strange, but in all the times I’ve listened to this song, I’d never really pondered on the lyrics until the TV doco – even though I know them by heart: Continue reading Song Of A Baker