Sourdough Simplicity: book review

low-res-sourdough

For a while now I’ve been meaning to review a very useful little book by my friend Rose Godfrey, Sourdough Simplicity. It’s really a very handy, practical instruction manual for those just striking out in the world of sourdough starter. Personally I’ve been wanting to try sourdough for a while, and was only stopped by my husband’s “eek!” factor. Now I’m more inspired than ever to give it a shot.

I’ll be honest: despite Rose’s just warnings about whole-grain sourdough bread coming out dense, if I do make the effort at sourdough, it will only be with whole grain flour (either wheat, rye or spelt). I just don’t see much point in making a starter, keeping it going, investing in a long rise process, making the gamble of an unpredictable product, and all this to get what essentially is still white bread from refined, nutrient-stripped flour (though undoubtedly superior in taste to the usual quick-rise bread).

Yes, traditionally fermented bread is in many cases better tolerated by those with grain allergies, as opposed to quick-rise bread made with baker’s yeast. But still, from a nutritional standpoint, it isn’t much. It might not give you an allergic reaction, but it won’t give you much of anything else, either.

Either way, Sourdough Simplicity is a great way to get going in that confusing new world of sourdough starter. It also provides many great recipes, creative ways of utilizing leftovers, and troubleshooting tips.

“I needed a method that was pure simplicity and a recipe that tasted great. In the end, I found that sourdough baking did not have to be complicated, and it could fit all my objectives. I started with a wonky oven that had 4 distinct heat zones and still managed to bake delicious breads. My loaves are not always Pinterest-perfect, but they are tasty, nutritious, and easy to make. There is always some minor variation from loaf to loaf, and we are OK with that.”

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5 thoughts on “Sourdough Simplicity: book review

  1. I’ve used sour dough starter for ages, and never noticed the bread being particularly dense. However, when I use whole wheat flour, I always add a tablespoon of vital gluten to the mix, which makes the bread more “springy”. Gluten is usually available near the flour, etc. It’s not expensive, and a box lasts a good long time.

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  2. I normally use 1/2 or a bit more of whole grains for my sourdough bread, and it comes out great! I don’t know, if this book introduces autolyse? It’s simply just letting the flours and water (nothing else) to rest for 1/2-couple of hours before continuing. That helps to build gluten and makes the dough easier to handle.

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