Working on my sourdough bread

03 April 2018
Lately I've been experimenting with my sourdough baking. I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm keen to try new recipes and improve my everyday loaf. I feel like this year is a perfect time to do it as I have a little more time on my hands with my eldest  off to pre-school and living in a rental without my large food garden (sad face).

I received a copy of  Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa for Christmas and have started working my way through a few recipes. I read about this book over on Fig Jam and Lime Cordial which is in itself a great resource for sourdough baking. Celia had posted about a few recipes she had tried from the book and they looked so amazing. I was sold.

Everyday Sourdough

It was opportune timing as I had been thinking a lot about working on my baking skills and as immensely useful as blogs are I do like to have a book as a reference as well. I promptly dropped a hint to my husband that should anyone be looking for a Christmas gift for me this book could be a good option. And by dropped a hint I mean I texted him the book depository link which he eventually passed on to an interested party.

Cinnamon swirl bread.

When I finally got around to  making my first loaves from the book I wasn't disappointed. I started with the Everyday Sourgdough and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. The recipes use a small amount of starter and a long bulk fermentation (which is the first rise of sourdough making) which I was keen to try out.

Everyday sourdough loaf crumb.

True to form I did deviate from the recipe for the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. I used dried cranberries instead of raisins and sunflower seeds instead of walnuts as these were what I had on hand. I also chose to bake it in a loaf tin rather than free form.  However, I didn't let them rise in the tin enough before I put them in the oven. This was an oversight on my part as further reading of the loaf baking section shows that the dough should be proved a little longer for the final proof compared to a free form loaf and baked at a lower temp. Room for improvement next time.

Cinnamon 'cranberry' swirl proving.

I was really happy with the overall results. As you can see I'm no expert sourdough baker but the bread was more than edible, had a great crumb and mostly looked the part. In fact the Everyday loaf was gone in one day. So I think I'm onto a winner there.

Have you been baking anything new lately (bread or otherwise)?
Where do you stand on the whole recipe following thing – to the letter or a bit more laissez-faire?

P.S When I read the book I realised that I was actually familiar with the author's blog. Her post Sourdough Bread: A beginner's guide had formed part of my drawn out extensive research on sourdough before I jumped down the rabbit hole. Heaps of great info to get your head around the whole 'sourdough thing'.


  1. Laura I used to use Celia's recipes all the time when I first started making sourdough. She is amazing the way she bakes so much sourdough to give away. I wish I found it that easy. Now I just stick to the same recipe and just mix up the flours a bit.

    1. Yes, Celia seems to be a bread making machine! I actually just acquired an enamel roaster from my sister-in-law that I've been trying out as Celia's always seem to turn out so well in that.
      I go through my phases of churning out the same loaf for a few months and then wanting to mix it up a little.

  2. I'm going to have to try this sourdough! I popped over from Rhonda's blog, I'm sure glad I did. Have a blessed day, Elaine

    1. Welcome and thanks for the comment Elaine. I hope you give the sourdough a go. It's not as complicated as it first seems to be once you get the hang of it. Look forward to hearing how you go.

  3. Well Laura you might say that you're no expert sourdough baker but I can tell you, from where I sit, you've NAILED it girl..!!!That holey everyday's the bee's knees. No wonder it was gone in one day. I love Celia's blog and recipes too, and I tend to stick to her basic loaf, and mix the flours a bit. I tried her High hydration loaf but (for me) it just flattens out too much into a flat blob. Your holey everyday loaf is my holy grail, and sometimes it works out like that but often it doesn't. Methinks I might be putting that book on my gift list too. X

    1. You're too kind Sally. I think that the everyday loaf is nearly foolproof - I've made it several times now and it's pretty forgiving of me even when I get the timing out. However, I did have one dense brick like flop when I under-proved the bulk fermentation as I was rushing to get the bread baked. But at least now I know what went wrong where as in the past I've just felt it was more hit and miss.
      You wont regret putting the book on your gift list - so many great recipes.

  4. A friend just gave me a sourdough starter - I baked sourdough twice about five years ago and then killed the starter.. so thank you for this recipe it is perfectly timed and I will have another go.. your bread looks divine, and that cinnamon swirl is giving me good ideas.

    1. Definitely jump back in Jo. So satisfying. Keep us posted on your efforts and experiments.

  5. Your breads look incredible. I don't eat much bread anymore. I do love it, though. I used to bake all the time when I was younger. So glad that you received your book and that you are enjoying it.

    1. Thanks for the compliments. Yes, the book has been one of the best presents I've received of late - so many great recipes.


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