Bread, Savoury

Hobbs House Sourdough Family

Last week me and my family went to see the Fabulour Baker Brothers at Stratford Food Festival and they were as good as I hoped they would be!

Tom and Henry did a brilliant talk and kept everyone entertained despite the horrible weather outside, the hard chairs and the rain leaking through the roof. I would love to see them do a talk again and it hopefully shouldnt be too long till their new series starts.

The other thing we managed to get was a small jar of 57 year old Hobbs Bakery Sourdough starter. It was a bit of a squash to get one but both me and my dad are now proud owners of our own little jars and last night we started our own one.

We received these instructions to feed and grow it:
Find a suitable container to house your sourdough. A Kilner jar is good. Clean it well and weigh it while it’s empty, noting the weight on an address tag or label.
(This saves you having to empty it out to know how much you have left –
it’ll be worth it later.)

Weigh 75g organic wholemeal or dark rye or wholemeal spelt flour into the jar
(any of these will work well), then weigh in 75g/ml warm water. Using a spoon, add your Hobbs House 57 year old sourdough to your flour and water and stir. Leave your jar in a prominent and warm place (its second home) in your kitchen, with the lid sealed.

Each day for up to a week (though a couple of day should do it), repeat the feeding process (75g flour and 75g water, as before), stirring vigorously with a clean finger or a fork to remove all floury lumps until you notice bubbles in the dough. Like the first windy smile of a baby, you know that soon enough it’ll be laughing and telling jokes, and you’re on your way to the most rewarding kind of baking.

Once you can see bubbles in the jar you can start to keep the sourdough culture in the fridge (its first home), only removing it on the morning of baking day, to feed it back into full bubbly liveliness (75g flour and 75g water, as before).

It’s quite laughable just how simple it can be to keep your sourdough in peak condition for really tasty loaves, if you feed it occasionally and mostly keep it
in the fridge.

If the sourdough is not performing well enough, try taking it out of the fridge a day before you want to use it, and giving it an extra feed. Remember that, as
a living culture, it needs to be fed if it’s not hibernating in the fridge (where it can survive for several months). It likes to be warm and aerated
(stirred/whisked) occasionally.

If it dies (“de-natures” – you’ll know because it will smell disgusting), bin it and start again. With a bit of good husbandry and some forward planning, your sourdough could live forever.


I have made mine with wholemeal flour and all going well, I will be able to have my first sourdough loaf on Saturday. Fingers crossed it will work, wish me luck.

Bread, Savoury

Feeling brave: Sourdough

Last year I went on an ‘around the world’ holiday with my husband and family covering Hong Kong, Australia and San Francisco.

We ate a lot of food on the holiday but one of the great memories is eating sandwiches made with sourdough bread bought from – Boudin’s Bakery on the Wharf

They had the bread being made fresh in the window day and night and then being placed on a magical system, like a small rollercoaster for bread, which delivered it straight from the bakery next door to the shop!  The sourdough bread was fantastic and I thought that it would be something lovely and simple that I could make when I returned back to England.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  Sourdough isn’t a simple recipe and after researching quite a few this morning I have realised that it is going to take some planning and practice to create the best sourdough.


You see, sourdough isn’t like a normal bread using yeast – it uses a starter.  This is a fermented mixture of flour and water which is left to ferment in a warm place and then fed with more flour until it changes from a nasty-smelling mix to a sweet-smelling one.  Then you use the starter as a type of yeast, but not in the usual way, you have made the sponge which is made by mixing some of the starter with fresh flour and left over night.

All of this bubbling and fermenting is what gives the sourdough its lovely flavour and creates a nice heavy-ish bread.

Then finally after all of this process the bread, which can take up to 2 weeks in total, can be made.


I think I am going to need a bit more practice at making the simple loaves before I can move onto this complicated one and in the mean time I will just have to think of my happy memories of eating it in sunshine in San Francisco.