Followers of my bread blog (should there be any) will be aware that I spent many years experimenting on the perfect sourdough. At one point, believing that I might have cracked it, I allowed hubris to overcome me and even claimed (in the author biog of one of my books) to make the second best sourdough in the country. What rubbish. I blush to think of it.
Good bread seems to be springing up all over. This is a phenomenon of the last few years, at least in Scotland. Our local health food shop, Heart Space, gets its bread from the Wild Hearth Bakery in Comrie. https://www.wildhearthbakery.com. This is magnificent bread, proper bread, bread as bread should be, and so good that I rarely make my own any more. When I remember my earlier delusions about making a go of it as a professional baker, I break out in a sweat. Sometimes you have to get lucky in this life.
On the rare occasions when I do now make my own bread, I use the ‘revolutionary no-work, no-knead method’ advocated by Jim Lahey and described in his book, My Bread, Jim Lahey (WW Norton and Company). Get flour, water (baker’s percentage of 75%), salt, a smidgin of dried yeast, mix for 30 seconds and let it stand for 18 hours. Then put it in a pot in your hottest oven and bingo, perfect bread. There’s a little more to it than that but not much. Buy the book. You can’t go wrong.