The Fresh Loaf

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Maureen Farndell's blog

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Maureen Farndell

A little background info first.

Not being experienced with pancakes (crumpets), and having only ever made ordinary ones twice in my life, I was a bit unsure of how to go about achieving a tasty treat using the sourdough starter which I felt reluctant to throw away. I do remember the few odd occasions that mom made them for sunday tea but they were never a regular on the menu........ so a very special treat indeed!

So I did my homework. I found and tested a recipe for regular pancakes and with help from some of the bread friends on TFL I found a "sort-of" recipe using sourdough. From there on it was a case of working on what looked right and pure gut-feel and I managed to cobble the two recipe's together. This is my recipe as it stands today and I will try to include all my tips and observations gathered in the process. If you find that a bit tedious, remember we all have to start somewhere and this is my story so you can just skip the uninteresting bits......... I hope this helps someone else who is struggling and they have as much fun and enjoyment as I do........ Happy baking!

Starter Prep:

170gm seed starter (from the fridge. I have a whole wheat starter and its very active). You are now going to feed it with......

170gm flour ( I just used my normal bread flour). And.......

170gm water (just slightly warm but please... not hot)

Mix  together till well blended. It should have the consistency of a nice smooth batter. Make sure that your bowl is large enough to accommodate the increase in amount later as you don't want to mess around with the batter once its puffed up.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap leaving a small vent open and set aside for approx 6 hours or till its nice and bubbly and increased in volume. I'm sure overnight would be just fine on the counter top and it would also depend on room temp. Warm weather will make it all happen quicker........

This is what it looks like when ready for the next step.

Pancake Batter:

All the starter as above.

2 Table spoon Maple syrup - 60ml (honey would be nice!)

2 Table spoon melted butter.

2 large eggs.

¼ tsp salt.

2 tsp baking powder. ( maybe less - I'm not sure about this yet)

Whisk the eggs then  add the syrup/honey and melted butter. Give it a good whisk to mix well.

Add egg mixture to starter stirring gently. You don"t want to beat all the bubbles out of it but make sure it's well blended. Add salt and stir in well.

Sprinkle the baking powder on top and gently fold in to blend well. I used a wooden spoon for this and only till it was all mixed. A light touch is what is required here......

At this stage the batter seemed to froth puff up like a fluffy omelet..... very interesting.

Pour into buttered griddle or frying pan and cook till golden then flip and repeat.

Serve hot with a blob of butter and lashings of maple syrup or stack with bananas and cinnamon sugar.




Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

So you all know how I have been going on about pancakes (crumpets/flapjacks) and scones....... like a real ninny whining about a recipe...... Well here they are and I will never make ordinary pancakes/crumpets again!!!!!!!

This is the starter ready to go.


With the eggs and other ingredients added. Some baking powder in there and it frothed up like a puff ball!

Served warm with a blob of butter and lashings of maple syrup.

This was hubbies idea..... Banana sandwich with a liberal shake of cinnamon sugar!

I have never seen anything get devoured soooo fast! If anyone wants the details, just comment here and I'll post the recipe but it's just oh-so-easy!

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Well was if worth the extra effort?????? All that extra effort of chopping fresh chives and parsley?

No not really. The fresh chives and parsley did nothing to improve what was already a super tasting loaf. Let me hasten to add they did not detract from the flavour but nor did they add any distinctive nuance either. Maybe dried herbs would bring their flavour across but fresh did not cope with the process very well. So I have come to the conclusion that you can't fix something that is not broken, so leave it alone! 

As usual I did my 75% hydration in a pot and I seem to have this recipe down pat now so I'm not going to change it..... just maybe focus on the 95% which is a bit of a challenge. All that is needed is a variation in baking time. 

Just to practice my new posting skills - I'm posting the photo's of this loaf. 

After the 3X stretch and fold. Ready to proof.

Proofed and scored. Ready for the pot.

The result cooling. I love the texture. Fresh with butter and a good bowl of hot soup......... Mmmm.

Happy Baking!

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Yesterday I made a 95% hydration loaf in my pot using Jason's Coccodrillo chiabatta recipe, but using a sourdough starter boosted with yeast. 

I was a stunning loaf when it came out the oven with amazing oven spring but as it cooled it dropped. I understand that the escaping steam will drop the bread but this seemed a bit much. Why did the gluten not hold it's shape? Should it have cooked longer? The crumb is soft and spongy and totally delicious, so at the end of the day the taste is what counts and personally I don't mind that it dropped - I just want to know why........

1 hour proof.

2 hour proof.

Divided into two and waiting for the pot.

Out the oven. Beautiful and good oven spring.

Cooled and all that "lift" has gone.

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Don't ever be tempted to shave off a few minutes here and there. So you are in a big rush today......... Then make a decision to bake another day (your starter will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days) or  just be a little late for that not-so-important appointment.

My time this morning was very tight and the bread had to be ready to go by 11am but as I was baking 2 loaves at the same time, I decided to shave a couple of minutes off where I could. 

15 minutes off the proofing stage...... no big deal but there was a lack of maturity in the loaf. It would have been just that little better with the extra time! As I use a little dry yeast booster in my bread, it only takes 2 hours to proof so 15 minutes off that time is a lot!

5 minutes off the 1st stage of baking (lid on)...... NOT a good idea! The bread was cooked right through with a very nice soft and springy crumb. Good looking and lots of yummy olives and rosemary....... but it really needed that extra 5 minutes to develop the crust.

Well live and learn. A wonderful exercise in learning patience....... (Or.... just get up 5 minutes earlier!)

Olive and Rosemary

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell
  1.  Starter, beautiful cobweb, ready to use.
  2. At 75% hydration, very wet and sticky.
  3. Out the bowl and resting for 10 minutes.
  4. 1st stretch and fold, looking better.
  5. 2nd stretch and fold, nice.
  6. 3rd stretch and fold and ready to proof for 2 hours.
  7. Dressed, scored and ready for the pot.
  8. Done, now lid on and into the oven.
  9. 30 minutes, lid off and back for another 15minutes.
  10. Lots of Bloom.
  11. Out the pot and cooling.Mmmmmm

The final result! I'm happy.....

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

The Cheesy pot bread. I figured out that my photo's are too large and it won't upload, am working on it as I have some interesting ones of the process. This bread is a BIG favourite and the grated mature Cheddar was added during the stretch/fold process which I do 3 times with 10 minute rest between. It works very well as there is no kneading to break the cheese up so there are lots of yummy bits in the finished loaf.

Maureen Farndell's picture
Maureen Farndell

Ah yes! First ever blog also!!!!!

I started my adventure sometime in March/April this year with a wish to re-produce a bread like the rustic artisan loaf made by a bakery in a nearby town called Knysna. Trouble was, it's a 45 minute drive......... for a loaf of bread? I don't think so -.

After a while researching and surfing the www, I found "The Fresh Loaf" and one of the members, very kindly, helped me get going with my starter (see: sourdoughlady - wild yeast starter.) Still being very confused by all my new found knowledge, I messed around and played with this for a while. No haste, but I did develop a good, strong, starter from the very beginning. I think I was a little intimidated by all the strange terminology and in total awe of the wonderful bread everyone seemed to produce.......

So now I had a starter, happy and bubbly - I just had to do something with it! I downloaded a couple of ebooks from Amazon and eventually settled on Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day". His common sense approach and easy to follow instruction was all I needed. My first loaf was great and my third ended in the trash (but thats the only one) so there have been more successful loaves than not.

Six months down the line and my recipe has almost no resemblance to the original, progressing from ordinary baking sheet to pizza stone to cast iron pot, but still a real pleasure to eat. My favourite is olive and rosemary but my husband likes the very cheesy, so there is plenty to choose from and I bake at least twice a week!

If I could figure out how to upload more than one photo to a blog I would. Perhaps someone could tell me how!

Thank you Fresh Loaf and all your wonderful contributors........ I'm so very glad to be part of the community. 

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