I’ve always loved baking. I absolutely love it, I find it really therapeutic and enjoy loosing myself in a recipe. Before lockdown, my baking was pretty basic and consisted of cakes, cupcakes (mostly with the girls I looked after) and brownies. Since lockdown, oh how things have changed!
For my birthday, I was given the most beautiful cookbook from a friend, called ‘Aran‘. A bakery in Highland Perthshire, Scotland, where they bake an assortment of breads, cakes, pastries, delicious tarts alongside salads, and all these recipes can be found in the book.
Having been kindly gifted some sourdough starter from another friend and with my new cookbook to guide me, my bread baking especially, really took off. I never thought I could bake bread, let alone sourdough. It seemed “too hard”, too many steps and after a failed attempt a year ago, I decided it wasn’t for me. However, I’m so glad that I have persevered with this starter because I have really found something I love doing and genuinely have a passion for. It hasn’t been easy and it has taken many, many failed attempts but I feel like I have finally mastered it.
Now with bread and other types of flour being quite hard to source, I’ve only made the Classic Sourdough (definitely the most used recipe/page in the book) and a ‘porridge loaf’, but my next challenge is to find some rye and spelt flour so I can start making some mixed loaves and really experiment with flavours and texture.
Alongside bread, I’ve also found other ways of using my starter. I recently stumbled across Izy Hossack, and her blog ‘Top with Cinnamon’, through Charl, who I follow on Instagram. Izy opened a whole new chapter of sourdough baking for me with her recipes ranging from brownies to focaccia, I was excited to be able to make more yummy goodies using my starter. My current and favourite recipe from Izy, is her sourdough brownies – which I’ve linked here. I actually can’t count the number of times I’ve made them, for both my parents and friends, because they are so easy and taste incredible! She also has a vegan sourdough brownie recipe, which is on top of my list to bake next, along with sourdough banana bread!
With my sweet tooth satisfied, I really wanted to try something I love – sourdough pizza! When we were put into lockdown, and restaurants had closed their doors and stopped takeaways, I instantly saved the Franco Manca’s sourdough pizza recipe, that they shared on their blog. Again, I remember reading it and thinking how much time it required, time I had, but didn’t think I could pull off. I must have read it a number of times before finally biting the bullet and deciding to give it a go. After working out timings, it required me to start it at 3am to eat the following evening, something I wasn’t quite prepared to do. So, I asked my friend Anders, who’s a a baker, and he said it would definitely be doable in one day.
So, that Saturday morning at 6am, I got up and started making the dough. I made a coffee, prepared everything and once I’d given it a mix, let it sit for an hour and turned it once, it was time to leave it until late afternoon to start cooking. Actually easier than I thought! In the cooking instructions, they suggested a few ways of cooking the dough, and we found baking it on the a stone at the same temperature I bake the bread, worked the best. We did try frying one of the bases but it didn’t cook as well, it came out quite thick and too doughy, but my dad happily munched it away!!
I won’t lie, once they came out of the oven, I squealed in excitement and couldn’t wait to tuck in! I even had leftovers, so dropped some at Charlie’s doorstep for her and Tom to enjoy!
Along with lots of sourdough themed bakes, I’ve also enjoyed cooking a huge selection of dishes for suppers. Again, a time for me to switch off for a bit and enjoy a new recipe, using new flavours and ingredients we wouldn’t normally choose.
I dream of working in a bakery and putting my skills to use and bake for others. I’ve been inspired by Kitty and her dad, who own a local bakery called The Orange Bakery. Selling sourdough loaves, cakes, pastries and so much more, all made in a bake house in their back garden! She’s such a sweet young lady, her dad is incredibly kind, and they both inspire me daily to keep going with my baking.
Lastly, I recently found and have fallen in love with Bryan Ford. His Instagram, which makes my eyes light up, along with his blog full of sourdough bread recipes, inspires me to want to try pastries – croissants especially! He’s also got a book out in a couple of weeks, which I’m excited about!
Once I’m back at work, I definitely won’t stop my baking and cooking. I enjoy it too much to stop and I’m too stubborn to let a recipe get the better of me!!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a slightly different post and that it inspires you to pick up a wooden spoon this weekend!
Much love and thank you for reading,