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In Britain, we eat nearly 9 million loaves of bread every day,
most of them bought in bakeries, shops and markets.
But I reckon some of the very best bread you can eat
is the bread you bake yourself.
Great taste. Earthy, rich, full of history -
that's the way all bread should be made.
I think every home is improved by it,
so I want to show you that making bread in your own kitchen is
much more satisfying than buying a loaf.
Because it is a feast for your family and your senses.
'The smell of it, the feel of it...'
'..the look of it...'
Not like the ones you buy in the shops, it's more special than that.
'..the sound of it...'
This is a beautiful loaf.
'..and the taste of it.'
It just tastes so good, you've got to try it.
I want to show you that making bread is simple, really.
You mix, knead, prove,
shape, prove again, then finally, bake.
Some loaves I show you may seem complicated
but with time and focus, you can grasp them all
as I will guide you every step of the way.
Once you've mastered them, I'm going to reveal how
bread can be much more than just a loaf - it can be a meal in itself.
One of the only things that'll keep my mouth shut!
So, there's no excuses. Get baking!
We've made many kinds of bread in this series,
but now it's time for the daddy of bread-making, sourdough.
Appreciating sourdough is like appreciating a fine wine
or a single malt.
Once you have the taste of it, you're going to want more.
Classic sourdough has a distinctive look, a dark, heavy crust
and a tangy, slightly sour taste.
There is a little more art to making sourdough than other breads,
but trust me, it's worth the effort.
I'll show you how to make a French style fougasse,
and a white chocolate and raspberry loaf,
transformed into a summer pudding.
If there is one recipe that you need to make before you die,
it's that one.
But let's start with a classic sourdough loaf.
Most of the breads I've made before have used either yeast
or bicarb or baking powder to rise it.
But did you know there's yeast in the air?
What I'm going to show you is how to harness that to make a sourdough.
But to start your bread, you need to make what we call a starter,
or "levain", the French call it.
In standard breads, dried or fresh yeast is used to turbo-charge
the creation of air bubbles in dough.
a sourdough starter encourages the slow growth of natural
yeast organisms already present in the flour and in the air.
For your starter culture, you need 250 grams of strong white flour.
I'm going to add to this five seedless green grapes.
Chop them up roughly.
This fruit will ferment and ensures the starter liquid is
the perfect environment for natural yeast to grow.
It's best to use organic fruit, as it is free from chemicals
and will ferment better. The last thing I add to this is water.
Equal amounts of flour to water and stir it together to form a batter.
When these ingredients are mixed together,
they attract the wild yeast around them.
It reminds me of having tadpoles when I was a kid!
I don't know what it is.
I think most kids do this, certainly most of the lads I knew did it.
Seal the jar and leave it to ferment.
Little bubbles of carbon dioxide will form
and natural yeast will develop.
And like any other living thing, it needs to be fed.
It's like giving birth to a new pet. Think of that as your new pet.
After a couple of days, it begins to grow. To this.
The bacteria has begun to multiply and it smells alive,
it smells slightly vinegary. And that's why we call it sourdough.
Discard half of this mixture, then pour the remainder into a bowl
and feed your new pet with more flour and water.
You do this to keep it continually fresh and active.
So it perpetually exists, it never dies.
I've even heard of a place which is a "sour hotel", where people
when they go on holiday are so worried about their sourdough
dying, they used to give these jars to the people in the hotel
and they would feed it for them! I mean, what a fantastic idea.
Return your starter to its jar and leave it for a few more days.
So, this is a six-day one now.
It's like opening up a bottle of lemonade, it begins to bubble.
That fizz, that effervescence, it's telling you it's alive
and it's ready to use.
This is your starter, this is your live yeast,
which you can use in replacement of yeast in your breads.
So what I'm going to do now is make a loaf using this starter.
You can see how lively it is, it's popping as you put it into the bowl.
From now on, it's almost exactly the same process as other breads.
Add 370 grams of strong white flour to your 250 grams of sourdough
starter and most of the water.
Bring the dough together,
with the salt dissolved in the rest of the water.
It's just easier, because it goes throughout the whole dough, as liquid.
Then begin to manipulate the dough, tuck it in from the outside in.
Just do this for a couple of minutes. A little bit of oil.
You're beginning to make your first sourdough.
After ten minutes of good kneading, you have a smooth, elastic,
Little bit of olive oil, just to stop it sticking too much.
Get your dough.
Now, the difference when you're rising sourdough - it takes longer.
It's not as active as the shop-bought yeast.
It'll take several hours to rise,
but making sourdough is something you fit around your life.
The smell is incredible.
It's tangy, it's fruity, it's slightly vinegary, it's earthy.
It's so different from making it with yeast.
Like any dough, it needs to be knocked back.
But this is a wet dough
and it needs a little help to hold its shape during the second rise.
This is what we call a banetton. It's basically a wicker basket.
It's quite traditional in France
to use this sort of mould to rise the bread.
If you haven't got a banetton, you can prove it in a bowl,
if you want, with plenty of oil or plenty of flour,
just to prevent it from sticking.
Ball of dough goes upside down into the banetton.
So, the rough bit's on the top. A little flour on the top of that.
Now it needs to rise again. Pop it inside there.
Tuck it up to go to sleep for a bit.
Anything between three, five hours, leave it alone.
Once the dough has doubled in size, gently tip it out onto
a baking tray, dusted with flour and semolina.
This will prevent it from spreading out too much.
Draw a knife across the top to help it bloom.
Do not underbake a sourdough.
You want that lovely and dark, heavy crust.
220 degrees for about 25 minutes, half an hour, drop it down to 200
and leave it in there for another 20 minutes to really crisp up.
Nice and crisp, perfect sourdough.
That's the way all bread should be made.
You can eat this gorgeous sourdough as it is, just with butter.
But for me, it makes the best toast in the world.
And there is no better way to start Sunday than with a delicious
brunch of creamy scrambled eggs, grilled Parma ham and tomatoes.
Rich, tangy, sweet.
But it has to be done with sourdough -
it's the only thing that will carry the flavour through to blend
with the Parma ham and the egg. It's just simply delicious.
The rise in artisan bakeries is bringing
sourdough into fashion in this country.
But Scandinavia and Eastern Europe have always sustained
a tradition of sourdough,
particularly in their dark rye breads.
I've come to Essex, where Nadia Gencas
and the team at the Karaway Bakery are baking traditional breads
from Lithuania, Russia and all over Eastern Europe.
I love this style of bread in particular, I love the taste of it.
And I love the look of it.
My eye is drawn to an elaborate celebration loaf.
In Russia, it is a very, very old, popular tradition to welcome
guests with a loaf of decorated bread with salt in the middle.
-Can you eat that, though?
-Yes, you can.
The decorations are a bit hard, but yes, you can eat it.
The breads are dark in colour, but the thing that is really striking is
how aromatic they are, infused with cinnamon, coriander and caraway.
They also use some unusual techniques.
-This is Lithuanian scalded rye.
Tell me a little more about it, it's absolutely fascinating.
Scalding of bread - this is where you scald your flour, and some
other ingredients, maybe malt and caraway seed, with boiling water.
It sounds fascinating, the idea of boiling the contents of the loaf.
So, what's the benefit of scalding at this stage?
It retains the moisture for longer
and the bread stays fresher for longer.
Once the scalded rye, malt and caraway dough has cooled,
the head baker adds a rye sourdough starter
and the mixture is left to ferment.
The fermented dough is mixed with more flour,
then a second flavourful rye sourdough starter.
The fact that you are adding different grades of sour is
fascinating. And then, you end up with a lighter loaf.
And finally, the secret to the dark, characteristic colour -
roasted and liquid malt.
The dough is thoroughly mixed and left to ferment again.
The head baker then kneads and shapes the dough.
It gets a final prove.
And then, the bread is ready for baking.
-That is our dry calamus leaves.
This plant is very fragrant and it adds to the fragrance of the loaves.
It's got such a gorgeous flavour. It is light as well, and it's moist.
Mm. Yeah, indeed.
I was expecting something quite dry and heavy and it just isn't.
That would actually make a great sandwich.
We love it with roast beef, with some horseradish and some salad,
or with smoked salmon and capers and dill.
I think it's gorgeous.
Making sourdough is all about the flavour of the bread.
And you can use my basic recipe to make the most stunning
tea-time loaf. This is a sourdough with a sweet twist.
What I'm going to do to the basic sourdough is to add raspberries
and white chocolate.
You won't have tasted anything like it before, I promise.
To start with, you need to get your sourdough,
which again has been fed, risen and ready. And smells fantastic.
250 grams of the sour into a bowl. Bubbling mess!
That needs to be fed now and left for the following day
so you can make something else with it.
So, in goes the flour and some of the water,
dissolve salt in the rest. This is a sweet loaf, but you still need salt.
No salt in the dough retards the dough
and prevents it from working properly.
Blend all ingredients together and knead for ten minutes.
Then leave the dough to prove in an oiled bowl,
until it has at least doubled in size. There we have it.
A lively little dough there. At this stage, it's a basic sour.
Once the dough has proved and the gluten structure has formed,
it's time for some flavours.
We have the sharpness from the raspberry
and that lovely flavour, but you also have
that beautiful, creamy sweetness,
which is inherent in white chocolate.
I'm using fresh raspberries but please don't use the frozen ones,
because they tend to give off too much moisture.
If you find the dough is getting too wet,
add a sprinkle of flour to bring it back.
That flour will help to soak up the moisture
coming from the raspberries.
Now I'm going to prove this up into a banetton.
You can get most of these baskets online.
You could use a tin, but you're not going to get
the finish that we want with the lines on the top.
Plenty of flour in there. Roll it up.
Rough side goes straight on the top.
This needs to prove and rise again now, which will take
another three to four hours,
depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
On the baking tray, put a bit of semolina -
this will stop it from skidding too much on the surface.
There you have it. It's a wet liquid,
so it's sitting down and beginning to float.
It will carry on flowing a little bit in the oven,
and then it'll bake and it'll be absolutely beautiful, I promise.
Bake this at 220 for 20 minutes.
Drop it down to 190 for at least another 20 to 25 minutes
and that will build up the crust.
That is delicious.
The tang coming from the sourdough, and that creaminess coming from
the chocolate and then you get the hint of the raspberry.
A little bit of butter, cup of tea, job done.
I mean, that is just...
For me, it's one of my best loaves I've ever made.
They just taste so good. You've got to try it.
This sourdough loaf is versatile.
You can eat it as it is or my favourite thing
is to transform it into a summer pudding crammed with fruit
and served with white chocolate cream.
Tip some raspberries and your favourite mixed berries
into a pan, add some sugar and a little raspberry liqueur.
Warm the mixture through until the sugar is dissolved
and the fruit has begun to break down.
Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Slice the bread and cut off the crusts.
Line a well-buttered bowl with the slices of bread
and don't leave any gaps.
Pour in the fruit compote.
And cover with a little more bread.
Wrap the bowl well and put a plate on top to weigh it down.
After a few hours in the fridge,
the juices will have seeped into the bread and set the pudding.
So all you have to do now is cross your fingers.
This is going to be something very special.
It looks like raspberry ripple and it will taste absolutely divine.
Serve with a white chocolate and mascarpone cream.
I've been looking forward to this.
If there is one recipe that you need to make before you die...
..it is that one.
This is mine.
This and other recipes in the series
can be found at the BBC Food website.
Sourdough is very versatile.
It can make sweet breads, everyday breads
and anything you would normally rise with yeast.
It takes a bit more time and dedication
but the word is spreading.
It might be 5,000 years old
but sourdough is the beating heart of the artisan bread revolution.
'I'm in Hackney, east London,
'at the E5 Bakehouse with Ben Mackinnon and his bakers,
'where the sourdough permeates not just bread but the air.'
I've just had one of your coffees
and I could actually taste the sourdough in the coffee.
-Come off it!
-No, no, you could smell it.
'There's real passion in the baking here.'
That's the Route 66 - 66% rye.
'And they're entirely dedicated to the enjoyment of sourdough.'
Commercial yeasts can do it all a lot faster
but the sourdough gives really fantastic flavour
and then there's a bit more art and creativity to it.
You're looking after it and it also improves its keeping qualities.
-I think it's better for you, sourdough bread, you know.
It makes it more digestible
because you've given the dough that kind of time to develop.
'As well as their own signature loaves,
'Ben and his team make
'sourdough versions of several classic breads -
'baguettes, ciabatta and, unusually, bagels.'
-Can you tell me, Ben, how you actually make the bagel?
-Got a white, 100% white, sourdough leaven here.
You take a small amount, about 100 grams
and about the same amount of water which is quite warm.
And then a few grams of malt extract, about ten grams of sugar.
-A bit of feeding yeast.
And I'm just going to grab a bit of fresh yeast, as well.
This is a strong white bread flour.
The thing with the bagels is you just want a really strong dough
-so the stronger the better.
The kind of trick that we incorporate
is we don't instantly knead them for a long time.
We just let it rest for 20 minutes so the yeast can get really active.
This has had the 20-minute rest and you can see the gas
has built up in there, the CO2.
-It's quite active, actually.
-Yes, quite nice and active.
Knocked back and very quickly you'll see the glutens tightening up
-and I can't really stretch it any more.
We knead them every 15 minutes.
-Yeah. Is that how you mould the cob?
-It's an interesting technique.
-I can never do it like that.
-How would you do it?
-Just do it one.
The reason was, when I was a kid in the bakery, my dad used to go,
"Hang on, son. You've got two hands there."
So we'd have to be going like that otherwise he'd say,
"I'll pay you half your wages." I went, "Oh, thanks very much, Dad."
When we do them two-handed, we need the other one to work off.
-You can push one against... Yes, exactly.
-And bring them together?
I would tend to push that way
because you're going that way, aren't you?
You're driving it together.
'And after all that kneading and resting,
'it's time to portion up the bagel dough and roll it into balls.'
-You scale it up and I'll do it.
They're all right, Paul, but, um...
Poke your finger into the middle, work the two fingers like that
to try and open it up and then just finish off with a bit of a spin.
An interesting way of doing it.
'I love working in this kind of open kitchen atmosphere.
'It really takes me back.'
When I first started, my dad was the first person in the country
-to open up an in-store bakery.
I'd get shouted at by the customers.
They'd go, "Eh, love!" Obviously in Liverpool.
"Eh, love, get that loaf, just bang it to the back of the oven for me
"for ten minutes and burn the ... out of it."
-I went, "Absolutely."
But it's that communication between you and your customer
-because that's been broken down now.
-I love that.
'These little beauties need to prove for an hour and a half
'before being plunged into boiling water
'with a little bicarbonate of soda dissolved in it.'
This just puffs it up, doesn't it?
It forces the yeast to work, bang, and sort of explode and it puffs up.
Yeah. So we give them about 30 seconds on each side
just to give them that kind of chewy skin.
'The bagels are then baked for 20 minutes until they're golden brown.'
They look lovely, them. I love the colour.
They're good. A good tan on the top.
The crusts will soften when they're left to rest.
It does make a difference with that bicarb in the water as well.
They've got quite a nice, tight crumb there.
They smell delicious. What shall we put with this?
I've got some cream cheese and some blackberries.
-That's lovely. I'm enjoying that.
-Good, isn't it? Yeah.
The chewiness and that earthiness that comes from the bagel -
being the sour - really adds to the flavour of that.
-Then you hit that creaminess of the cheese
and that little bit of sharpness coming from the blackberries.
-Nice one, Ben.
'Bagels are often served with smoked salmon
'and my next bread also goes fabulously with fish.'
Sourdough is a flavourful bread and works best with big flavours.
Give us a couple of the tuna steaks, please.
'I'm going to make a substantial,
'brightly coloured, tuna Nicoise salad...'
'..packed with bold flavours and served alongside
'an olive-stuffed sourdough loaf made to tear and share.'
The Italians have their focaccia but the French have their fougasse.
Fougasse is a flat bread that's shaped and cut like a leaf
and it's a beautiful, crispy loaf.
I'm going to do a fougasse and I'm going to stuff it with
green and black olives and oregano.
'This starts with the same classic sourdough recipe I used before.
'And it's been kneaded and proved.'
And this one has taken four hours.
It's got a bit of life in there now. It's lovely.
The structure is amazing. A good stretch on it.
And what I'm going to add to this is some oregano, dried oregano.
Fresh doesn't work as well, dried is more concentrated.
And then black and green olives.
If you don't particularly like black,
you can use all green in this if you want.
Because I'm adding a bit of moisture, a dusting of flour
and then begin to push
the dough from the outside into the middle as we incorporate the olives.
What a mess! Just roll it round in the flour a bit.
This will make two fougasse.
I'm using a little bit of semolina -
it adds a little bit of crispiness.
Fingers in and begin to stretch... the dough out.
What you're looking for
is like a window with a flat bottom at this stage.
Do the same with this one.
Use your fingers.
Now we've got the basic shape,
gather it up, lift and drop.
All the shaping, basic shaping, now, can be done on here
because it's got a good coating of semolina or flour underneath it.
Get your pizza wheel.
Cutting four slashes on an angle
to make it look a bit like a leaf.
Then try and open it out a little bit.
'The fougasse loaves need to prove again
'until they've doubled in size.
'Throw a little water into a roasting tin in the oven
'to create some steam, then bake the loaves for about 20 minutes
'until they're golden brown.
'Traditionally you'd expect a salad Nicoise to feature olives
'but I've put my olives in the fougasse as well as in
'the olive tapenade into which you can dip the bread.
'The tapenade is so quick and easy.
'Put some garlic, lemon juice, anchovies, black olives
'and capers in a blender.
'Add some Dijon mustard,
'olive oil and basil, then blitz until you've got a rough paste.'
It's an olive-fest.
Then you scoop it up and you get that crunchy exterior of the bread
and the softness of the tapenade. Absolutely perfect.
'And now for the salad.
'Rip some baby gem lettuce
'and place in a bowl with some sliced, cooked new potatoes,
'blanched green beans, baby plum tomatoes and capers.
'Shake up a simple dressing of Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar,
'olive oil and lemon juice.
'Toss the whole salad together.
'Just get your hands in there.
'Then arrange it all on a board with halved boiled eggs.'
It's one of those beautiful dishes that you just dip in, dip out,
a glass of wine, chat to your friends.
'Finally, oil and season the tuna steaks, then seal on a hot griddle,
'leaving them a bit pink in the middle.
'Slice the steaks and arrange on top of the salad.'
So there have it - your beautiful tapenade,
your gorgeous, crispy fougasse,
your tuna Nicoise salad,
a little drizzle of olive oil.
'All the salad needs now is a hungry baker to help me eat it.'
Here you are, Ben. It's your turn to try my stuff. Help yourself.
-Rip into that.
-Thanks. Got a really nice colour on there.
I love this. It's one of my favourites.
-You like it?
-It's really good, yeah.
It's crispy, isn't it? It's fresh.
The olives in there are juicy
with this strong sour kicking in as well.
A nice sort of soft crumb. Good crust. I really enjoy that.
And obviously you are passionate it.
I am passionate about the whole environment of it
as much as the bread. It's like the process of making it.
You almost don't want to sell it.
But it's nice to give it to somebody.
-It's quite nice that they come and buy it.
'I hope you now feel confident about having a go at sourdough.'
Think of THAT as your new pet.
'I've shown you how to make sourdough starter
'from which you can make any kind of sourdough,
'all sharing the distinctive flavour from the slow prove.
'Next time, I'll show you how to make
'some of the quickest breads in the business.
'Brilliant for people with busy lives.
'It's soda bread - a crusty Irish classic.
'A hearty British stew with cheesy scone topping,
'and a twist on a breakfast classic -
'eggs Benedict served on a crumpet.'
I just hope they like it.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd