FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Monday, 1 February 2016

Sourdough Saga and the Holy Grail Loaf

One of my aspirations for 2016 was to master baking,  specifically bread. With absolutely zero experience I probably should have started with something easy, or even learnt how to use our breadmaking machine, but being my usual stubborn self I decided that if I could nail baking with Sourdough then everything else would be easy. Since New Years Eve I have been baking a Sourdough Bread loaf each week

For my Sourdough starter I used the method from the Dick Strawbridge's "Bread" book (imminent post on this book)

My first attempt was using wholemeal flour, the resulting loaf was very heavy and dense and the crust was a bit overbaked making it all but bulletproof. Not good for anything other than toast really:

Wholemeal Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 1 - basically a bread flavoured rock
Wholemeal Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 1 - basically a bread flavoured rock
My Second attempt with wholemeal flour came out slightly better but I still didn't feel that it was a great loaf, just OK, and I'm not one to settle for OK:

Wholemeal Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 2
Wholemeal Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 2

My third attempt saw me ditch the wholemeal flour in favour of Strong White flour, although my starter still had some wholemeal in it, the third loaf was quite frankly the best bread I have ever tasted in my life, the holy grail of sourdough bread, if I ever manage to replicate it I'd be very surprised! The texture and flavour were nothing short of perfect

 Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 3 the Holy Grail Loaf
Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 3 the Holy Grail Loaf

Needless to say the Holy Grail loaf didn't last very long so I found myself trying to make another, Loaf number 4 was a nice loaf, but just wasn't quite as good as the HG loaf, I think it may have been slightly under baked as I was trying to get the crust "just right" and knocked 5 mins off the time I had been using, next time I know better!

Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 4, good but not perfect

Sourdough Bread Loaf no. 4, good but not perfect
Sourdough bread is a bit involved as it requires a little prior planning and really needs to be started 24 hours before you want it, assuming you already have a sourdough starter. If not it can take anything from 1 week to several weeks to establish a decent sourdough starter, which is probably what puts most people off baking it. What I like about it is that if I want to bake a loaf I don't have to go down to the shops to get yeast as the starter harnesses the natural yeast found in the air so all I need is flour and water to bake the most amazing bread, with a amazing complex flavour unique to my kitchen, the white air packed as bread in the supermarkets just cannot compete with the texture, let alone the flavour! Now that I feel I've got the hang of sourdough I'm planning to try out some different types of bread, I absolutely love baking now, particularly kneading which I find quite therapeutic.

The advantage of all this baking is that I've been able to have some fantastic home made bread for breakfast, I can definitely recommend Sourdough toast and goats cheese, drizzled with honey :)



  1. I am a fan of soughdough bread but need to make a new starter, I lost mine through sheer carelessness. It does encourage me to eat more bread though, and sourdough pancakes are glorious.

  2. I had a good go at sour dough last year and had a no kneed bread down to a t with my starter. All went out the window when my wife got me a bread maker though!


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