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My unique sourdough approach

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Sourdough bread is thought to be difficult. And… it can be. It was for me starting out.

However, sourdough bread can also be very, very easy.

What sourdough bead isn’t is a one size-fits-all scenario. You are working with a living, breathing organism and the same way you respond to different weather and temperature ranges, so does your sourdough. 🖤

If you understand the time vs temperature tug-of-war (which I like to think of as a beautiful dance!) and some basic flour information, sourdough becomes simple. It can be made complex and competitive again. You can add loads of effort and experience back into the process, but that’s not my gig. Mine is to make it as simple as possible so that anyone can make sourdough bread and be proud of it.

I have been baking serious quantities of sourdough bread since 2008 when a simple loaf of bread, from a small Parisian village, forever changed the way we understood bread.

It took 18 months before I baked a loaf of sourdough bread that worked! I can’t tell you why I was so persistent. The loaf in France really must have had an impact! And… I believe all things are possible. So somewhere between those two things I kept going and, ‘possible’ happened for me.

The next impossible mountain I faced was convincing others that they could make sourdough bread as well! Back in those days (close to a decade ago), I was still kneading the dough and coil folding every 45 minutes through the bulk rise. I used the refrigerator to retard the loaf only when I wanted to prepare ahead, never regularly and never to avoid benchtop proofing altogether. I used pizza stones – open to the oven and made my own diastatic malt for colour and making sugars in the flour more accessible to the sourdough culture. You DON’T need to do ANY of this! I don’t. Not anymore.

I truly believe anyone should be able to make sourdough bread and be proud of it. Unable to convert anyone in my life to sharing my passion for sourdough due to the effort involved, in 2018 I took my philosophy to heart and began hacking the process to remove said ‘effort’. Again, it took another 18 months before the hacks came together for me but they did! And now many family and friends plus strangers I have never met, are making sourdough they’re proud of. This is literally the feedback that comes in. They made it. and are proud of it. Each time, there is a little ‘happy dance’ inside my kitchen!

Sourdough goals

My sourdough bread rises in the oven, springs beautifully, has a well developed open, soft crumb (interior), and a flavour that is gentle but complex.

The loaves may not have the biggest sourdough holes or the highest oven spring on Instagram. But those aspects require experience in working with wet doughs, kneading, periodic folding and other ‘fuss’. These loaves are beautiful but inaccessible to the humble home cook without a lot of research, trial, time and error.

What if you just want a decent loaf of homemade sourdough bread to enjoy with family and friends and feel proud of making it?

Bread that will rise, is soft inside, and doesn’t come out flat?

What if you don’t want to persist through all the learning, troubleshooting and researching, just to get a loaf of sourdough bread that actually works?

That’s the loaf I wanted to create – the one anyone can make.

Sourdough bread that’s totally tasty, rises in the oven as it should, looks sexy as… and impresses family, friends and your own heart, all without the extra fuss.

So I…

  • Found easier ways of caring for sourdough starter (See How to choose which sourdough process is for you)
  • Specifically designed the entire process – whichever one you choose – to avoid sourdough bread that’s flat
  • Equip you (via notes in the recipe) to flow with your dough through temperatures and weather changes
  • And made it all as easy to follow, with the most basic equipment, as possible

My recipe is really a simple process, designed to educate and teach you as you follow it. It’s not traditional but it does work and will grow your knowledge of the sourdough process easily without having to know it completely.

Now I…

All my bread is made this way now. Big holes are pretty but they don’t hold butter or jam! Oven spring is fun to watch and I still get some pretty decent action! But I no longer care for all the fuss! I used to be a perfectionist, and believe the illusion that appearances are real and the more shiny or unattainable, the more valuable. It wore me out and I feel for anyone still there. It’s exhausting.

Now I do things the easy way, including sourdough. And it has its benefits. My bread is extra tasty due to the slow proof in the fridge and my life is slightly more flexible around baking.

I still need to pay attention to what my sourdough is doing. It is alive and depends on me for care. I need to respond as the sourdough reaches each stage in the recipe but I don’t have to do anything with it in between those moments. my hands-on time has dropped to under 15 minutes, even for two loaves of wonderful bread.

This simple process has become so much a part of my life now that I’ve almost lost touch with the traditional methods of kneading and benchtop proofing, coil folding and finger poking. But I’m hooked! The process works with ANY sourdough starter including mine but not limited to.

Now I’m creating no-knead sourdough everything. Hamburger buns, cinnamon scrolls, cakes. With a few ingredient tweaks and method hacks, I’m passionate about creating a sourdough community, brimming with recipes and advice that’s accessible to anyone. So that you can make sourdough bread and be proud of it!

It’s beautiful living ~ just made easy.

Try my recipe and process here. It’s free. 😊

xx M-J

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Writer, Designer, Creative, Sydney Sider.

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