August 10th, 2010.
I’ve been to the St. John this morning to buy sourdough bread. It’s huge, tastes amazing and stays fresh for several days. Pleasingly, it’s cheaper and superior to the bread from farmers market and supermarkets.
I do on occasion, make my own bread, even sourdough, but it does take a few days. The quickest recipe I found involves making the dough one day, resting it, allowing it to rise several times the next day and knocking it back, before baking later on. The really good sourdoughs take a week or so to get going, using natural yeast in the air. Once going the “Mother” dough base is a living organism and needs to be used daily and replenished with an equal amount of flour and water to what is taken to make the bread.
I believe the St. John “Mother” is about 8 years old and included some rhubarb and yoghurt to get it going. The recipe is in the book, Beyond Nose to Tail, by Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly.
Here’s one I made – fortunately it tasted great, because it doesn’t quite live up to the
St. John on looks.
There are a couple of other London sourdough bread makers of merit:
Bread Ahead, in Borough Market do a mean brown sourdough and a huge doorstop, which I believe, is blessed by the Bishop of Southwark Cathedral.
BreadBread started by Bridget Hugo who founded Franco Manca with Giuseppe Mascali in Brixton Market. Originally the bread was made in the pizza oven, but the bakery has expanded and moved on – see their website for details.