Sourdough

A Loaf To Be Proud Of

I’m guessing that you, like me, are here because you love good bread? And delicious toast, with just the right chew factor, dripping with butter? You’re in the right place.

Over lockdown I put together a guide to making my favourite homemade sourdough. This was borne out of a desire to simplify what can seem like a bit of an intimidating process to the beginner – and make baking your own sourdough at home a bit more achievable and fun.

I think this ‘no knead’ sourdough method is a bit of a revelation. A sort of rebellious lazy version that anyone can do but still works beautifully, producing a loaf with a gorgeous crust and a delicious chewy texture and complex flavour. Think of this as a bit of introduction to the baking art – one so simple that it might actually get you hooked!

The guide contains everything you need to know with step by step pictures to help you along the way. Alongside recommendations for equipment and ingredients you will also find a Troubleshooting section with advice on growing your own starter, baking faster loaves, etc.

The guide is completely FREE and I’ll even share some of the Cook Folk starter culture to get your going if you are keen. All I’ll need is your email address so I can whizz the guide to your inbox. Click here to sign up and download the guide.

Make Your Own Sourdough with Cook Folk

What makes this sourdough different?

There are lots of methods for making sourdough – and whilst not wishing to challenge the wisdom of master bakers – many are quite complicated and off-putting for the first timer. This method is a springboard from which to explore the world of sourdough and perhaps start to develop and adapt your own unique method. In order to cut down on process and save home bakers hands I don’t do the traditional series of stretches and turns (kneading), instead favouring a more hands off approach and a very long, slow fermentation which allows the friendly bacteria and my fridge do the hard work. I also use a ‘dutch oven’ style lidded pan to cook my bread. This provides heat from the base which gives you your rise and the closed pot gives you the steam that ensures a great crust. You won’t get the characteristic huge airy bubbles often found in sourdough bread, but a good rise and medium sized holes (that I actually prefer for toasting as the butter stays on top rather than just melting through!). You will however get a loaf with increased nutrients, vitamins, healthy gut bacteria, flavour and a great texture.

How do I get my FREE starter culture?

In a bid to spread the word, I have also launched Sourdough Disciples offering FREE samples of starter culture (currently collection only) as well as help, advice and tutorials for anyone keen to give it a go. Just give me a bit of warning and I will get a jar of starter ready for you.

The sample you receive will weigh about 70g and it’s recommended that you take it home, repot it into something bigger and grow it by feeding equal weights of flour and water before you start baking – you will need 140g of starter to make a large loaf with a little left over each time to become the starter you need to bake again. I tend to keep a large kilner half full at all times and this is enough to keep me baking. Keep your starter in the fridge until you need it. Starter pots are currently collection only from the Cook Folk kitchen in Acton. Contact louisa@cookfolk.com to arrange your pot.

Help! How do I get some serious 1-2-1 advice?

First of all, sourdough does take a bit of practice and your first loaves might not be completely perfect. Don’t despair – it’s really worth persevering. Really watch what is happening and try and learn from any mistakes. However, if you do want some extra guidance then Cook Folk is offering 1-2-1 tutorials for anyone wanting to really get to grips with the sourdough art. Or for anyone keen to take their baking on to the next level with different types of baking using your starter culture. The tutorials will take place via zoom and you can be free to bring all your questions and queries (or balls of dough!) for discussion.
Or contact louisa@cookfolk.com to find out more. Once you’ve picked the date for your 1-2-1 you will get a chance to let me know what it is that you want to cover in the session so I can make sure I am prepared for our call. I look forward to chatting to you!
Having now had three lessons with Louisa, our home cooked meals have been transformed – my family are eating better than ever. Louisa is a great cook, great teacher and delight to be with whilst you hone your culinary skills – I can't recommend her enough.

James Lohan, Founder, Mr & Mrs Smith

Having a couple of lessons with Louisa has literally been life changing! I can now cook delicious, healthy meals and find entertaining super easy rather than before when I never knew what to cook– I would definitely recommend a few sessions with her - my fridge and freezer are now always full with yummy things, and no longer does it get to lunch and I am stuck for what to cook. She is AMAZING – it was the one of the best Christmas presents I have ever had.

Emmie Faust, Feel Good Marketing, W3

I really enjoyed our few hours together it was a really lovely relaxed experience. Along with your amazing endless knowledge and tips, I also loved your enthusiasm, which was contagious.

Sonya Matthews, W3

Louisa spent two hours with me in my kitchen teaching me how to create a larder and a fridge that work to support recipe-free and hassle-free cooking for a busy life. She used the time to showcase foundational cooking skills so that I had a variety of dishes that I would be able to recreate with my own style over the weeks to come. I’m excited to check out the spice blends she recommended and to continue to make simple food more easily.

Jo Sumner, Jo Sumner Wellbeing

Louisa gave me permission to try without embarrassment or fear of failure…lesson notes, which included how to create a fridge and pantry toolkit, where to shop, which oil to use, what pulses should be soaked, how to make a dressing and a myriad of ingredient combination suggestions. I am indebted to her.

Sophie Clowes, City Kids