The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Elderflower Sourdough

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Plough's picture
Plough

Elderflower Sourdough

Hi


Warm greeting to everyone. First post on the forum but have been reading for a while.
We live in and run a 14th/15th century country pub in the South East of England.

We have been baking our own bread for some time but I've just finished my first Sourdough and wanted to share it with people who will appreciate how pleased I am with the results!


I made it by culturing some wild yeast from Elderflowers and using that to get a good sourdough starter going.
Actually that makes it sound far more complicated than it really was - I was simply making some elderflower champagne and after a few days when the drink was really fermenting on the wild yeast
i made my sour starter substituting the water for the elderflower champagne. With the yeast already well developed the starter got going very quickly.
The final dough was made to be exceptionally soft. The bread came out far better than expected with a surprisingly good rise(spring?) in the oven.


Anyway, nobody else really understood my excitment at baking my first sourdough so I'm posting here where I know others will remember the 'Sourdough Smile' they got from baking their first sourdough loaf!

Kind regards


Bob


Elderflower starter


 


 


 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

It's almost ridiculously satisfying when that first sourdough bread actually works, isn't it?  You appear to be well on your way, now. 


What other breads have you been baking?  I have one of Tom Jaine's books and he includes some lovely breads from England.


I know that folks here in the States make elderberry wine, but I haven't heard of wine made from the elder flowers.  Is that akin to dandelion wine?


Paul

Plough's picture
Plough

Hi Paul


Thanks for the reply and your quite right, the satisfatcion is immense, perhaps because you just can't believe it will work and taste so good!


Most of the breads we make here are fairly simple, rustic breads using just flour, water, salt and a litle fresh yeast. we use this dough for cobs and cottage loafs. We also make an enriched bread particular to this part of England called a kentish Huffkin - its shaped as rolls with a big thumb indent in the top.


I dont know if elderflower champagne is similar to dandelion wine as i've never made it though i would guess it is very similar - its a lovely refreshing drink and  I would guess the satisfaction may be fairly similar to sourdough making as you are rely on the wild yeasts present on the elderflower to start fermentation. I can recommend making it as it is incredibly easy and very tasty. 


Thanks again for your reply


Bob


PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

The first time I managed to make a loaf of bread without using any commercial yeast, I was so excited I had to tell everyone I met while out walking the dog.  I could barely believe that I had not just got a sourdough starter going and bubbly, but that it did its job as well as, or even better than, the instant yeast I'd been using.  People who don't make bread can never understand the sheer joy of producing a super loaf of homemade bread with no commercial yeast at all!  I still experience the thrill and it's been over a year since I started baking sourdough.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 Bread looks good, did the flavour of the Elderflower come through to the bread or was it lost in bread process,


 I love any thing Elderflower, the champagne, the cordial, elderfowers added to jams, Strawberry or gooseberry, oh yum.


 I do have one elderberry tree/bush in the garden but last fall had a ot of dead wood to cut from it, but I usually make Elderberry jelly, also yummy.


                                     qahtan 


 

Plough's picture
Plough

Thanks for the replies Paddy and qahtan.


I'd love to say that the elderflower flavour was there in the baked bread but in truth i think the flavour was all lost - though the bread was still delicious and it was an interesting way to make a starter.

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Bob,


Oddly, I was recently thinking of trying the elderflower yeast for bread thing - hadn't got around to it as yet. Having said that, I have made elderflower champagne three times and have had no luck with the wild yeast and have had to cheat by adding in some yeast. Great tasting results but not happy that I had to cheat. Could you give me any pointers as to where I may be going wrong with my champagne? Any tips or recipes you could share?


Regards,


Gary

Plough's picture
Plough

Hi gary


Elderflower champagne is, at its simplest just water, sugar and of course elderflowers - there are plenty of interesting recipes on the internet that elaborate on this basic list of ingredients. The only key tip I can really give is to make sure the elderflowers are left in the initial mix for long enough before straining and bottling. Anything between a day and a week with a good stir a couple of times a day - you will notice when the yeasts are working away. Hugh Fearnley Whittinstall has a nice simple recipe you can search for in google.


Remember not to be to over-zealous in cleaning the flower heads - I just give them a little shake. I do make sure I only pick the flowers from completely unpolluted areas.


I hope that may help you a little.


regards


Bob

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Bob,


Many thanks for that. I have been using a recipe that uses a lemon and some wine vinegar. Maybe I will simplify the next batch and see what happens.


I did leave my flowers in the initial mix for longer on my last attempt but was, unfortunately, rewarded with white mould rather than yeast.


I will, of course, perservere though.


Regards,


Gary