After spending the last year slowly becoming obsessed with making my own sourdough bread at home, I decided I wanted to start sharing the recipe with anyone else who would like to learn. I’ve always felt like teaching is a way to really cement the things I know, as well as pointing out the areas that I could use some refinement/additional knowledge. As far as sourdough bread goes, I have a great sense for the general processes, and the feel that I’m going for, but could definitely use a bit more information on the chemical processes taking place.
Nevertheless, I’ve run two free workshops so far – one in November, and one in January – and both were a lot of fun! I’m so in love with this recipe, which is almost magic in my mind. Flour, water, a bit of salt. That’s it. Plus time, technique, and fermentation.
The sourdough recipe I use is my own modified and tweaked version of Zero Waste Chef’s recipe (found HERE), which itself is taken from Chad Robertson’s Tartine Country Loaf recipe (found HERE). If you click through to glance at either recipe, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed by the many steps, terms, and processes – and believe me, it took me a few weeks of making bread consistently before I started to feel even remotely less stressed by the length of the recipe. I really wished I had been able to have someone just show me how to do the recipe, and so that’s more or less the goal of my workshops!
I make this recipe zero waste by bringing my own containers to Bulk Barn (which they now accept at their Willowgrove location!!!!!!!), and filling with whatever I need. I also often use Two Stones Mill, which had been out of operation for a while but is now back in service. Excellent spelt, red fife, etc!
Both workshops I’ve limited to 6 people, as I don’t have a mightily large kitchen or anything. Both filled pretty much immediately, with a mix of people I know really well, and those I don’t. An unexpected benefit of hosting the workshop was getting to meet and hang out with people, since the recipe takes a lot of time (and features a lot of down time, perfect for chatting and crafting).
Participants met on the Friday night before bake day to assemble their ingredients, create their leaven, and set their grains up soaking. Everyone was responsible for bringing their own ingredients, and I made a sourdough starter (which I like to call sourdough babies) for each person. The night before baking is all about prep, so it’s a good time to teach other aspects of sourdough, like how to feed your starter, etc. It can be a little bit overwhelming, but it’s a tough recipe to teach over a single weekend, since the starter is a bit of a cyclical process.
Everyone came back to my place Saturday morning, which is the bake day where most of the magic happens. We start by combining the prepped ingredients.
The next 3 – 5 hours are spent facilitating bulk fermentation, which is essentially 3 – 5 hours of down time. Great for crafting, chatting, and asking questions!
The recipe requires that you gently turn and stretch the dough as it ferments, so every 45 minutes or so you “fondle” it. The rest is relax time.
At the end of fermentation, we shape the dough into two boules which are then ready to head home to proof in participants’ fridges.
At the end, everyone went home with two boules, which can be baked in the oven after proofing in the fridge or on the counter top. The results are AMAZING.
My goal is to run these workshops once every 2 – 3 months, so stay tuned on Facebook if you’re in the Saskatoon area and want to learn from a self-professed amateur!