DP Photo Challenge: growth, take 2

Flour, water, salt and time, plus a bit more time and heat. Close up shot of wholemeal sourdough loaf, still in baking pan. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Flour, water, salt, time and heat. Just-baked loaf of wholemeal sourdough bread. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

The Daily Post asked this week for photos that evoke growth.

For me, sourdough bread is perhaps one of the purest examples of how natural growth processes can be utilised to create something sustaining and delicious.

Flour and water are combined, and left as a food offering to the yeasts and bacteria that exist all around us. Over time, and with extra food, this mixture grows sufficiently in bulk and strength that with the addition of yet more flour and water, the resultant dough can be kneaded and proved and ultimately baked.

Flour, water, salt and time: the beginnings of a sourdough loaf. Bowl containing ball of proving sourdough. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Flour, water, salt and time: the beginnings of a sourdough loaf. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Learning to bake sourdough bread has been one of my projects for the last couple of years. With every completed loaf, my knowledge and confidence also grows.



Magic Monday

Still warm. Two homemade loaves of wholewheat, seeded sourdough bread, resting on a cooling rack. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Still warm. Home-made sourdough bread. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Today has been bread-making day, and now there are two loaves of wholemeal sourdough cooling on the kitchen bench.

All cooking is slightly magical, but sourdough is especially so. A paste of flour and water  that we first made two years ago (called a starter) provides food for the natural yeasts and bacteria that hang out in our kitchen. We add flour, water and salt; and natural fermentation does the rest.

Two loaf pans with sourdough, kneaded and ready for proving before being baked. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Sourdough; mixed, kneaded and ready for final proving. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

RegularRandom: five minutes contemplating breakfast

The walnut and cranberry sourdough bread I baked a few days ago is still fresh enough not to need toasting, and was perfect with my morning latte.

In the spirit of mindful eating, I’m trying to make food more visually appealing, using our more interesting crockery, and setting the table with a cloth hand-embroidered by my paternal grandmother — whom I never met.

I’m sharing my breakfast contemplation as part of  Desley Jane‘s RegularRandom challenge. If you’d like to know more about  Five Minutes of Random #regularrandom (or just want to see some great photography), check out Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist.

Quest for improvement

Sourdough foccacia with rosemary and olive oil. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A year or so ago the Big T and I created a sourdough starter: flour, water and whatever bacteria and yeasts inhabit our kitchen. We feed it, keep it warm and sniff it a lot to check its health. We also bake bread: mainly wholewheat, but sometimes fruit bread or foccacia.

Over the year our bread has got better but there is always room for improvement in our quest for the perfect loaf.

Proved dough ready for toppings and baking. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Lunch: greek salad with homemade sourdough foccacia. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The last morsel. Image: Su Leslie, 2016


This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge theme is Quest.

Wordless Wednesday


Raisin and apricot sourdough. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

Thanks to MoSY (Master of Something I’m Yet to Discover), whose post Sticking to the Sourdough offered the fabulous suggestion of adding dried fruit to my sourdough loaf.

Yes, for the rest of you this may not seem like such a revelation. I’m just slow, ok.


Hm. Couldn’t quite wait until I’d photographed it before I took a bite. Image: Su Leslie, 2016


Six Word Saturday: a good day to bake bread

Sourdough foccacia; looks like a bought one!

Sourdough foccacia. My first attempt at a new recipe, from The Bread and Butter Project Cookbook (1). Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The outlook is ... for more baking. Screenshot from MetService NZ.

The outlook is … for more baking. Screenshot from MetService NZ.


(1) The Bread and Butter Project was created by the Bourke Street Bakery, Sydney, Australia. It is a social enterpries providing baker training and employment pathways for communities in need.