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My sister and I spent a fascinating afternoon at our friend’s house learning all about sourdough artisan bread making.

I learned about wild yeasts and how to grow them.  Each one, grown in different parts of the country, had a distinctly different odor and flavor depending on the kind of yeast naturally occurring in the air of that region.

We didn’t knead the dough, we gently folded it at regular intervals to slowly develop the gluten.

We shaped it into rice flour lined baskets.

We slashed the loaves with surgical precision, and then partially baked them under a dome to keep the steam in to allow the bread to rise before the crust hardened.

Our bread came out of the oven with gorgeous deep brown crusts etched with the lines from the baskets.

I came away with a huge respect for breadmaking, there is quite a science to it, especially with sourdoughs.   Our afternoon session involved chemistry, history, geography and aesthetics along with the baking.  All this from a simple mixture of flour, salt, and water.

Apparently there are very specific goals as far as the shaping of the slash marks on the crust, the distribution and size of air pockets, etc, but those nuances were a little lost on me, I thought it all looked and tasted amazing.

I’m going to be taking home my very own TSA friendly 3 oz jar of wild yeast starter, and I’m excited to  see what kind of yeasts are floating around the Great Island.

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    January 25, 2012 at 4:32 am

    I want to grab that amazing loaf of bread NOW! Perfect.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    January 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I mean it is simple stunning! Stunning piece of bread and one I need tonight with my bowl of soup

  • Reply
    January 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    What a fabulous looking loaf of bread. There is little as satisfying in the kitchen as making bread and you’ve done a great job with yours. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary.

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    January 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    What a great time you must have had! fantastic bread – would love to learn all about it – fab pics as always
    mary x

  • Reply
    January 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

    color me green with envy, sue–i would LOVE to learn the ins and outs of bread like that!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2012 at 5:07 am

    I’m not at all surprised that your bread is beautiful! Very different method than what I’ve recently tried from the Il Fornaio cookbook. I would love to try this, but need a few lessons, I think! There really is a science to making bread. Gorgeous photos!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2012 at 1:42 am

    What a beautiful & delicious looking loaf of bread.

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    A Trifle Rushed
    January 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    What beautiful bread. Looking forward to following your adventures with sourdough, and your local yeasts. I’m not sure that London yeasts (under the Heathrow flight path) will be that great, so I may wait until my summer in Brittany before I try to discover a good descent local yeast!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Gorgeous loaves! I would have LOVED to have that hands-on teaching. Good luck with the starter. Can’t wait to see how that goes for you!

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    January 22, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Goodness, that loaf of bread is beautiful! I took a bread baking class last fall and came away with some sourdough starter which I proceeded to kill. Bread baking is not my forte. But I do admire the skill and patience it requires to no end!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    OK so I love this post-funny because I have been reading about sourdough starters and was thinking about ordering one. Then, I hope over to your blog and see this! This loaf looks gorgeous. Wouldn’t mind slathering some honeyed butter on that one, thank you very much.

  • Reply
    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits
    January 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I Sue, I missed you at the 50 Women Game Changers, but you were busy doing what I like to do the most…make bread. Mmmm!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    January 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Wow I am so jealous and fascinated! Great opportunity – good for you! The bread really looks amazing. I think they call it artisan bread because those that make it are artists!

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    January 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Its amazes me that a simple loaf of bread can excite me so much. You certainly baked a gorgeous loaf. The first time I tasted sour dough bread was in San Francisco on my honeymoon. We ate every chance we had.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Oh, that looks so yummy! Pass the butter, please! There’s nothing like the taste of freshly baked bread and butter!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Wow that bread looks amazing!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    What a great alternative to kneading the dough. Great post!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    A beautiful loaf of bread! Bread baking is such a passion! I just love seeing the bread rise…it always gives me a thrill! And I love the wonderful aroma the bread has as it’s baking!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Oh my god what gorgeous bread! How rustic and earthy looking!I have been on a kick since the new year on making all my own bread–mostly just sandwich-type loaves though. This looks stunning, I’m putting it on my to-make list. Thanks for sharing, Sue.

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    January 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    What a great looking loaf of bread you have there! Your starter will get even better as it ages.

  • Reply
    Linda A. Thompson Ditch
    January 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I’m headed out right now to the local bakery for a loaf of sourdough! That looks so amazing that now I’m craving it. I love it toasted with orange marmalade on top.