Olive & sun-dried tomato sourdough bread: NYE preparations

Christmas has involved sitting around, eating, reading and more bizarrely watching the serial killer drama, Dexter.  I think we’ve watched over twenty hours in the space of four days.  It’s warping my mind.  So today, we only watched one episode, and I spent the rest of the day reading one of my christmas presents, William Alexander’s 52 Loaves, whilst listening to my present-to-self, an internet radio for the bedroom.

I also baked a loaf as well.  I’d been prepped for days now that I was making a loaf for a New Years event we’re off too in the evening.  I’d prepared my bread sponge the night before and also contracted some kind of head cold so this morning I just lay in bed, hoping the book would provide some inspiration.  In 52 loaves, William Alexander sets out to bake a loaf a week for a year in the hope of mastering one particular type of bread, a peasant loaf.  The peasant loaf is just flour, water, salt and yeast.  If I can master a good solid sourdough then I’ll be happy, however, as it is NYE I thought I’d branch out and chuck olives and sun-dried tomatoes in it – what the hell, live dangerously.

This is the sourdough starter I used to create my sponge the night before.

I had a hell of a time kneading the dough when I added the other ingredients.  As I was still feeling a bit ill I was winging it a little.  The dough was insanely wet.  I added more flour and still too wet.  I tried it in the kitchen aid, still too wet.  I had created a monster.  After battling with it for ages it sort of took shape and I left it to rise.

The final result looks okay but I still haven’t tasted it.

I’m not sure I’ve got the stamina for perfection like William Alexander, I’ll be content with a great loaf rather than the perfect loaf.  If every day of 2012 involves listening to the radio, reading and baking bread for a party, it’ll be a good year.

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