Last Saturday I experienced a 2 hour sourdough masterclass at Bourke St Bakery in Marrickville. It was a great, hands-on class where the enthusiastic instructors took us through the process of making, shaping and baking sourdough as well as making and caring for sourdough starter. After my preliminary adventures in making a sourdough starter and baking bread it was fantastic to have the opportunity to come to the session armed with questions that were all answered. Not only were they generous with their knowledge, they were generous with their bread and accoutrements. We all left with several cooked breads (plain and fruit/nut), uncooked, shaped loaves in proving baskets lined with cloths, a coffee cup filled with our starter and spiked with the good stuff (their own 10-year-old starter) and a snazzy black Bourke St Bakery shoulder bag.
The biggest lesson I took away from the session was how to shape dough into a ball and then a batard. I also asked about how to ensure the bread lifts as it rises rather than spreading outwards, as was my experience with some of the sourdough I had been producing. After establishing that the likely cause was using a dough that was too wet, I was advised to hold back on some of the water. I took this advice on board and as you can see, my loaves are looking lovelier than ever!
I now have 2 starters in my fridge: my original blend of wholemeal, spelt and rye flours and my new organic white Bourke St Bakery starter. Between this and my recent flour delivery, life is good for this bread nerd!