Not Sourdough Bread

Sourdough crackers - final

My sourdough bread is still a bit hit and miss. A recent experiment with apple and walnut bread ended up as an over chewy frisbee. LSH gamely ate his way through a couple of slices (that’s husbandy loyalty for you!) but the rest ended up in the bin. So I thought I’d try something different – sourdough crackers.

There are various versions of this on line. Mine is a rosemary and garlic version based on this one on the Fresh Loaf website as it was the only one I found in weighed measures.

I mixed 100g of my rye starter with 50g of white bread flour. I added 20g of olive oil along with 1/8tsp of garlic salt and 1 tsp of finely chopped rosemary. It came together into a sticky but still workable dough which I kneaded for about 10 mins before leaving to rest for about 5 hours.

I cut some greaseproof paper to the size of the baking tray and then rolled the dough out very thinly directly onto the greaseproof so that it was only a couple of millimetres thick.

Sourdough crackers - pre bake

I cut these into small diamonds and scattered some sea salt over the top. They were then baked for 15min at 180C.

LSH definitely preferred these to sourdough bread and scoffed a bowl full of them in no time. He thought that they were cheese as the taste was very tangy and said he would eat those again. They were a little too tangy for my taste so next time I will reduce the amount of sourdough starter and increase the amount of rosemary. A promising start though and a whole new lease of life for my starter.

Sourdough crackers - final 2

Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread - cut

Asda has a special place in my heart. When I was a child we still had butchers, grocers and bakers within walking distance so most shopping was done daily. But for the big stuff like washing up liquid, cereal, frozen food etc we had “the monthly shop” which involved a family outing to the nearest big supermarket which was Asda.

Food shopping has changed significantly since then and so has Asda. Today the branch of Asda nearest to where I work sells plantains and okra as well as potatoes and milk. This visit I came away with samphire and smoked garlic. The samphire came with cooking instructions telling you not to add salt, which on tasting it I can see why. I like salty food and this certainly didn’t need any extra! Poor LSH is not a fan of salt and I doubt it will find its way back into my shopping basket any time soon.

Garlic Bread - smoked garlic

The smoked garlic was more successful. For starters it smelt delicious – very rich and smoky! Just the thing to pop into a chicken for roasting. But I thought that it might be good to try it in bread and so I gave Paul Hollywood’s recipe for garlic bread in How to Bake a go.

Garlic Bread - roasted garlic

The recipe is pretty straight forward as it’s essentially a basic white dough with roasted garlic cloves. I made a half the quantity as I only wanted the one, so I used just one bulb of garlic. The bulb is split into cloves and all the skin is removed before it’s roasted in olive oil until soft and golden.
When the dough has completed its first rise the recipe tells you to knead the cloves into the dough and then to shape it before proving. Once proved you are then supposed to coat with olive oil and oregano before baking. Trying to get the cloves evenly distributed through the dough was a challenge and I didn’t have oregano so I used finely chopped fresh rosemary and the olive oil that the garlic had been roasted in to increase the overall “garlicness”

Garlic Bread - baked If you have the book you will see couple of key differences between my version and the one illustrated there – the location of the garlic and the shape of the loaf. In the book they are all at the top of the bread and sit level with the crust. In mine they are towards the bottom of the loaf. The bread itself is much flatter, more ciabatta like in shape, whereas mine was more domed and loaflike in shape, which was largely a result of trying to get the cloves spread through the dough. With the cloves incorporated I found it difficult to flatten it out. I suspect that the book version was shaped first and then the cloves pushed in before baking and this is what I would do in future.

The final bread had a lovely crisp rosemary scented crust with garlic cloves dotted through the crumb. Alas there was not much sign of the smokiness that I loved in the unroasted bulb though – I suspect that this lies in the skin that was removed at the outset. Despite this though it was tasty. So tasty that LSH managed the beat his own record for bread eating as within 15 min all that was left of it was this!

Garlic Bread - the end