Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Some Blossom

It was another decent day on Tuesday with some pleasant sunny periods but a cool breeze set in late in the afternoon.

On the plot some of our plums and greengages are at last showing signs of coming into blossom. Better late than no blossom at all.

Above is the blossom on our Victoria plum tree which looks like it’s going to be the last of the plums and gages to open. It does have lots of blossom so perhaps we might be in for a good crop.
Our greengage Reinne Claude is going to be the first into flower and it too has lots of blossom. Time will tell if this will turn into those deliciously sweet fruits by the end of summer.

Update on Trigger
I’m afraid the news on “Trig” isn't good. He’s in intensive care waiting for expert opinion on his condition and the best course of treatment. An attempt over the weekend to convert him into bread was a major disaster. He simply refused to rise to the occasion despite being given a full 24 hours to demonstrate his abilities.  
So we can only dream about Trig producing something like this. I’m sure in time he will make a full recovery and go on to produce some wonderful sour dough bread.

I’m tempted to go back to square one and follow more closely the method used by Paul Hollywood rather than the method on the back of the packet of flour. Now to find some organic grapes.

Original post from A Gardener's Weather Diary author M Garrett


  1. I think you are a harsh judge, Martyn. Trigger is just a young thing and this was the first loaf! It looks quite impressive in the picture. How was it inside? If you feel your dough lacked a bit of vitality here are some suggestions as to why that might be. You decide if any of these make sense to you.

    Maybe your dough just got too acidic. The longer you leave it the more acidic it gets. Beyond a certain point this acidity is counter productive That's why you should aim to increase the ratio of flour/water to starter for the final dough - rather than doubling up as you do for a starter.

    Too much salt can stop a sourdough in its tracks. Try reducing it a bit from PH's high level.

    The temperature can make a difference. Sourdough likes a hot kitchen.

    I wouldn't go back to starting a new starter (and I wouldn't ever put fruit in it either). Keep your starter in the warm and refresh at frequent intervals - You may have to discard some starter from time to time to to stop it building up in volume and growing too acidic (see below).

    Try adding a bit of rye flour (or else wholemeal) to your starter. It will soon be bubbling away! The enzymes are in the flour, not the air, or the fruit.

    Once you've got an active starter it's a bit like surfing: double, double, mix dough, prove, bake. If you miss the bubbly wave the you miss the ride.

    p.s the best way to avoid throwing starter in the bin/compost is to add it to your conventional yeast bread! Makes a nice tasty 'hybrid' sourdough too.

    1. Thanks for the great tips Mal. Perhaps I was expecting a bit too much of Trigger to start off with.

      I never really put too much salt into my bread so I don't think that's an issue but I might try keeping Trigger in a warmer room.

      If I'm using Paul Hollwood's feeding of 100gms flour how much of that should be replaced with rye or wholemeal.

      I nearly tried out adding some starter to a more conventional yeast bread but chickened out.

      I'll be back to sough doughing once we've finished decorating the lounge. It's not the decorating I mind it's the fact that the rest of the house is in chaos.

  2. Adding a small amount of old dough or sourdough starter to a 'commercial yeasted' loaf is a common 'trick', which adds character to a loaf. The usual advice is to restrict the addition to 5% or so because sour and commercial yeasts operate on a different potentially competitive basis, but I've not detected any conflict at higher proportions.

    A starter can be modified to any ratio you choose - but a rye starter does behave differently from a white wheat starter. I would say it behaves better and is more reliable. You can always switch back by just adding white (or wholemeal) refreshments.


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