Thursday, December 29, 2011

White Chocolate Coconut Lava Cake Recipe

White chocolate coconut lava cake
If you like white chocolate and coconut, there is no reason why you shouldn’t like this lava cake. Its quite delicious, there’s nothing more to say!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Toscatårta (Swedish Almond Cake) Recipe


When I arrived in Sweden I started working for a company that had a very nice tradition. Every Wednesday afternoon we had a cake or something sweet. Mostly Swedish baked goods were offered and this gave me an opportunity to familiarize myself with what Sweden has to offer. Toscatårta or Swedish almond cake was one of my favourites. 

Toscatårta looks like a simple basic cake but don’t let the looks fool you. The cake is rich and moist, topped with crunchy buttery sweet almonds. It is divine.

Toscatårta is baked either in small oval baking forms for single servings or as a large cake. You can bake them in muffin trays if you want. 

When looking for recipes I noticed that, generally speaking, there were two versions. The version I selected has eggs in the cake base. The other version has no eggs, it is more like a tart. What we were served at work was the tart version but I decided to make the cake version because its slightly lighter. The texture is  a bit different but there are no compromises in taste.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Brunede Kartofler (Danish Caramelized Potatoes) Recipe

Brunede Kartofler
Brunede Kartofler (aka Danish caramel potatoes, Danish caramelized potatoes) has an important place as a side dish on the Danish Christmas table. It is boiled potatoes covered in caramel, and it is not even a dessert. I know many people see the Christmas season as an opportunity to indulge in sugar, fat, alcohol and other goodies guilt free. And this is where brunede kartofler can really help you in your mission, it brings sugar and fat to your main dish even before you start with desserts.

Trust the Danes to do miracles with butter. Danish butter cookies and Lurpak butter is available in so many countries worldwide. It is no surprise that the Danes have come up with this dish, and I am surprised that it is not so widely known.

Caramelised potatoes may sound disgusting but it is actually delicious. When I first read about it I knew I had to try it, and after trying it, I know I will try it again. It is not sickly sweet even though its called caramelised potatoes. Three tablespoons of sugar for 2 pounds of potatoes is not so bad, is it? And don’t worry about the butter, mashed potatoes uses more butter. Brunede kartofler is low fat when compared with some mashed potatoes!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Coconut peanut butter recipe

Coconut peanut butter
My family always buys peanut butter, and we always buy peanuts to eat on its own. We have always had a food processor at home but we never made our own peanut butter. I guess we thought that making peanut butter is a complex process. And I suppose we think its complex after looking at the list of ingredients on the jar, some of which are unknown. If we don’t know it must be complicated? Wrong, making peanut butter is so simple, process peanuts and you have peanut butter. The only complex parts are decisions that need to be made and there are a few of them:
  1. Do you want smooth or crunchy peanut butter? If you want crunchy add chopped nuts
  2. How much salt? This requires thinking and tasting, and most of us are good at that
  3. How smooth and creamy? If the peanut butter is not creamy enough, how much oil should you add
  4. What kind of sweeteners and how much? Personally I don’t like sweet peanut butter. You can add sugar or honey, the amount depending on your taste.
I used to only like my peanut butter plain and simple, without chocolate, honey or other distractors. I changed my mind when I experimented with coconut peanut butter. Peanut butter with a toasted coconut flavor, I like it, a lot.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Swedish Pancake (Pannkakor) Recipe

Swedish pancake
Swedish pancake is quite similar to the French crêpes. It is usually eaten on Thursday following a meal of pea soup. The pancakes are often served with jam and whipped cream. Personally I also like it with savoury accompaniments. In the past I have eaten it with chicken, eggs, cheese, ham and sautéed lentils.  It was delicious everytime. The pancakes are very slightly sweet so it goes well with both sweet or savoury accompaniments.

The pancakes are almost always round but those in the photos don't look very round. I can assure you, they still taste delicious.

Swedish pancake

Recipe source:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chocolate Ginger Biscotti Recipe

Chocolate Ginger Biscotti
Sometime ago I made chocolate ginger brownies. Chocolate and ginger is not a very common combination but it worked so I decided to try the combination again with biscotti. And guess what, it worked again. 

This was my first attempt at making biscotti. When searching for recipes and reading reviews I noticed that generally speaking there are two contrasting opinions on biscotti. The majority seem to be fans while a minority think it is a teeth breaker. I must say I was a little concerned that I might fall in the teeth breaker category, but thankfully I did not. The texture of the biscotti was perfect and addictive. It was light and crispy. The chocolate ginger flavour combination worked harmoniously, ginger flavor was subtle and added just the right amount of heat to complement the chocolate. 

Biscotti’s can be made with or without butter/oil.  I went for the middle ground, using a small amount of oil. This worked perfectly for me. Since I used medium sized eggs instead of large eggs as recommended in the recipe, I substituted a tablespoon of oil for each egg.

Using polenta in biscotti's is uncommon, as a matter of fact I only found one recipe and that was created by Giada De Laurentiis. I like polenta in baked goods so I decided to go with it. Polenta added graininess or grittiness to the biscotti. I liked it. If you don’t like polenta I guess you can substitute with plain flour.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beetroot Chocolate Fudge Cookies Recipe - Cookie Bloghop

Beetroot chocolate fudge cookies

Why aren’t there beetroot cookies when there are beetroot cakes, pumpkin cakes and pumpkin cookies? There is only one way to find out, to try it, and I am glad I did. In addition to the cookies having a visually appealing pinkish hue, they are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and delicious all around. And you don't even need to use artificial coloring to get that color.

For those of you who don’t like beetroot, and I guess there is a fair few of you, these cookies don’t taste beety and earthy. There is a very subtle beetroot flavor. If you were not told that the cookies contain beetroot you probably will not even guess it.

To keep the beets company I added chocolate and fudge chunks. Using fudge was a mistake since the fudge melted away, leaving gaps in some cookies. If you want to use fudge its best to melt it and pour over the cookies. Or don’t use fudge at all.

I used a mixture of plain flour and semolina to avoid the cookies having a cake like texture. Semolina gives a crispier texture. You can skip the semolina and use only regular flour if you want.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Easy Layered Banana Semolina Cake Recipe

Easy Layered Banana Semolina Cake
This is without any doubt one of the most unusual cake recipes I have ever come across. What makes this cake most unusual is that you don’t need to prepare a batter before baking, the batter is made automatically during the baking process. The moisture from the fruits goes into the dry mixture, hence forming the batter. Amazing. 

The cake has 5 layers. The top and bottom layer of the cake is crispy and crumbly while the middle layer has a cake like texture. The other two layers are banana mash. It is a delight to eat, almost like a cookie sandwich with crispy outers and soft creamy filling. 

A 5 layered cake with different textures looks more sophisticated than a regular cake and generally requires a lot of effort to make. But not this cake, it is incredibly easy to prepare.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crispy Caramel Chip Cookies Recipe

Crispy Caramel Cookies
This is the most weird and unusual recipe I have developed. It results in a delicious crispy low fat cookie with a caramel flavor. And the recipe only requires sugar, flour, butter/oil and water.

Before I go any further, I should say that because the recipe is unusual, you may not get it right the first time. You may require a few practice runs, depending on your luck, patience, skill and other unexplained factors. If you have never made cookies before or don’t make cookies often perhaps this is not a good recipe for you. Its better to spend your time and resources on a more conventional recipe.

I was a bit hesitant in posting the recipe. I have tested this recipe many many times, the cookies turn out different every time, but always delicious. Thats why the cookies in the photos all look different. The first time I tried it the cookies turned out to be one of the crispiest I have ever had. That never repeated again, though it has been crispy every time. 

The recipe uses water which is an unusual ingredient for a cookie. Water does not add any flavor but it is used for bringing the dough together and for the crispiness. When water evaporates it acts as a raising agent, creating a crispier cookie.

- I have tried the recipe with vegetable oil and coconut oil. I prefer vegetable oil, it gives a more crumbly texture, its easier to work with and it is cheaper. If you use vegetable oil definitely use vanilla to mask the vegetable ‘oily’ flavor
- The recipe suggests making a simple caramel. The caramel does not need to fully develop in the first step. The caramel will develop further during the baking process
- Sometimes the dough will be lumpy and sometimes it will be crumbly. However it turns out, do not be concerned. The lumpy bits are hardened caramel and it will melt during baking.
- The third step in the recipe involves mixing caramel and butter/oil. The caramel and butter/oil will not mix together but mixing vigorously will help to make the caramel slightly softer and it will also unstick it from the bottom of the pan

Crispy Caramel Cookies

1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup water or milk (you will need more)
3 cups flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla essence (optional)

1. Boil water (or milk) and sugar in a saucepan, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the mixture starts to turn brown
2. Remove from heat, add butter or oil and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the caramel softens and unsticks from the bottom of the pan. 
3. Add flour and baking powder and immediately mix vigorously. At this point the dough will be either crumbly or lumpy. If there are big lumps break it into smaller piece. These are the caramel chips. As the mixture cools it will harden slightly
4. Add just enough water (or milk) to bring the dough together. Work quickly to prevent the dough from absorbing too much water. If you add too much water by mistake don’t worry it will evaporate.
5. Form into balls, flatten and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.

Crispy Caramel Cookies

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Brownie Cookies (Kladdkaka Cookies) Recipe

Brownie Cookie
Chocolatey, rich, soft and crispy, that’s what you get when you combine a brownie and a cookie into one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sekespare cookies recipe

Sekespare Cookies
Shakespeare spelt his name many different ways. One article notes 20 different spellings, however sekespare is not one of them. Sekespare, which is a Turkish cookie, has nothing to do with Shakespeare. Sekespare is no ordinary cookie though, even if it is made from ordinary standard ingredients. The cookies are soaked in syrup, just like baklavas. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coconut Semolina Macaroons with Nutella Recipe

Coconut Semolina Macaroons
First of all a small confession. I didn’t use Nutella even though it says it in the title. The ‘thing’ in the photo looks like Nutella but it is Nöt-Crème, a Swedish product similar to Nutella. I haven’t tasted Nutella and Nöt-Crème side by side but I would say Nöt-Crème is better because it has higher hazelnut content. I know most of you are probably Nutella fans and probably have never heard of Nöt-Crème. Just to keep peace, I will say that Nutella is also good, but not better than Nutella.

Anyway, now that the Nutella issue is sorted, lets move on to the main item, the macaroons. The macaroons are light, crunchy and chewy. Semolina gives it a nice crunch. It is not overly sweet. If you prefer a sweeter macaroon, please increase the sugar content. 

As you can guess from the photos I was in a great hurry to test drive these macaroons, hence the reason I didn't decorate the macaroons neatly with Nöt-Crème. Next time I will be more patient and try to make these macaroons look prettier. They tasted delicious though.

Adopted with modifications from epicurious and allrecipes

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons semolina
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Nutella or Nöt-Crème (optional) 

1.      Toast the coconut. I prefer to do this on the stove top. Toss the coconut in a pan placed over medium heat and roast until golden brown, stirring continuously. Alternatively place the coconut on an oven tray and bake at 170°C/340°F for 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. 
2.      In a small bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, semolina and salt. Stir in egg whites and vanilla; mix well. 
3.      Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 160°C/325°F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar Recipe

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar
This is an excellent recipe that I took from With a Glass who got the recipe from a cousin who in turn got it from someone else. I don’t know where this recipe originally comes from but it is most likely from Eastern/Central Europe or Russia.

History can sometimes be boring and irrelevant, what is important is that the salad is simple to make and delicious. It is quite a heavy salad, I had it as a meal rather than as a salad.

This recipe seems versatile and you can substitute ingredients according to your taste. Variations of this recipe exist, in many forms. Sometime ago I posted the recipe for Swedish beetroot herring salad which has some similarities and differences.

The recipe suggests using herring in oil. I used pickled herring instead and soaked it in water for many hours. If you don’t like herring you can substitute any other fish, it should work fine. 

Using caviar is optional. I placed caviar on one side only since I was unsure whether caviar would go well. It did, thankfully.

It is best to chill the salad for few hours, or even overnight. Like good wine the taste gets better with age. And then the taste deteriorates quite rapidly so don’t let it age for too long. I don’t know how long it can be kept for, I am guessing a few days only.

The amounts below come from With a Glass. I did not follow the amounts exactly as the recipe says, instead I rebelled and used my own estimates.

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar
250 grams herring in oil, drained 
2 medium onions (I used less)
4 large potatoes
2 large beetroot
4 – 5 eggs
150 - 200 ml mayonnaise
Caviar (optional)

1.      Cook the potatoes, beetroot and eggs and let it cool
2.      Coarsely dice the herring, and finely dice the onions, potatoes, beetroot and eggs 
3.      In a serving bowl or dish place the herring, making sure to spread it evenly 
4.      Place onions on top of the herring, followed by potatoes. Season with salt and pepper
5.      Place the beetroot, followed by eggs and mayonnaise.
6.      If you are using caviar, now is the time to place it right at the top
7.      Cover and chill the salad in a refrigerator for many hours, or overnight.

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crispy Coconut Cupcake with Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Crumble Recipe

Crispy Coconut Cupcake with Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Crumble

This looks nothing like a cupcake. It used to be a cupcake but it was converted into a crispy cupcake. I am not sure what I should call this thing so lets just stick with crispy cupcake for now.

You will probably not believe me if I say that this is really simple to make and requires few basic ingredients that are most probably sitting in your pantry. Trust me, my pantry is usually empty and I have all the required ingredients. The cupcake has just 4 ingredients, and cake mix is not one of them, neither is butter or eggs.

The process for making it is quite different. First I made a regular cupcake using this recipe. I then removed the inside of the cupcake, make this into crumbs by drying it out in the oven and then filled the cupcake with the crumbs. As a result the cupcake has a completely different texture from a regular cupcake. It is crispy on the outside and the inside. 

While the recipe is really simple it does take a bit of time to dry out the cupcake.

Crispy Coconut Cupcake with Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Crumble

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut (toasted - optional)
¾ cup milk
Different ingredients for the crumble – I used peanut butter, banana and chocolate (butter, sugar and cocoa)

1.      Heat oven to 180C/360F 
2.      Mix milk and sugar
3.      Add shifted flour and coconut and mix well
4.      Bake for around 30 minutes
5.      Once the cake has cooled cut off the top and using a knife and spoon remove the inside of the cake, leaving just a thin outer layer of the cake. The cake will look like a pastry shell (“shell”)
6.      Break or cut the inside of the cake into small pieces (crumbs). Put this on a baking tray together with the shell. 
7.      Bake at 85C/185F degrees until the shell and crumbs are crispy, about 40-60 minutes. Keep the oven door open 
8.      Mix the crumbs with different flavours and layer then inside the shell.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Banana chocolate brownie with caramelized coconut top recipe

Banana chocolate brownie with caramelized coconut topping
Chocolate, banana and coconut go well together, maybe because all these ingredients are grown in tropical climates. This logic does not necessarily apply in all cases but its certainly true for this brownie.

The brownie has 3 layers, it may seem complex but the recipe is actually really simple. I preferred to keep the layers separate to have a more distinct chocolate, coconut and banana flavour. And a brownie with three layers looks nicer too! If you want to make the recipe even simpler you can mix it all together.

- My suggestion for the topping produces a result which is much crispier. I’ve noticed that some recipes suggest adding butter to coconut and sugar. This could produce a texture which is slightly less crispier. I preferred without butter since there is already enough butter in the brownie, however I was not entirely 100% satisfied with the texture. I will work on it more so please consider the caramelised coconut topping recipe as a work in progress. 
- there are two distinct layers in the brownie. However I was not very careful when pouring the second batter over the first batter, hence the reason you see uneven layers. The banana layer is not very noticable, it has been 'overpowered' by the chocolate layer

100 ml flour
100 grams melted butter or oil
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon (20ml) cocoa powder
¼ cup mashed banana
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

For the coconut topping (to be updated)
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup sugar

1. Heat oven to 175 degrees
2. Mix butter/oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract
3. Add flour, mix well and divide the batter into halves
4. Add mashed banana to one half of the batter, mix well and place in a baking tin
5. Add cocoa powder to the other half of the batter, mix well and pour the batter evenly on top of the banana batter
6. Mix coconut and sugar and sprinkle on top of the batter
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes. To caramelize the sugar, place under a hot broiler for a few minutes or use a blow torch (to be updated).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ajvar (pepper eggplant spread) recipe

Ajvar is a relish/spread from the Balkans. Authentic ajvar is made from fire roasted red bell peppers (capsicum, paprika), eggplant and a few other ingredients. Ajvar is sort of like tomato sauce/ketchup, but much more. You can use it in place of tomato sauce/ketchup such as with burgers and sausages. You can also use it in ways that you may not normally use tomato sauce/ketchup like as a spread on bread or crackers. Once you taste ajvar there is a risk that you will not go back to tomato sauce/ketchup again. However I am definitely not trying to discourage use of tomato sauce/ketchup.

The world can work in mysterious ways sometimes. I’ve always bought ajvar from the supermarket, it is widely available in Sweden due to a relatively large Balkans community. My friends from Balkans never inspired me to make avjar, instead pings pickings from Malaysia inspired me. And ping got inspiration from me, from my jarred ajvar. Bit of a circular reference here, it probably proves that the world is round!

Ajvar is really simple to make. In a nutshell you roast the vegetables and mix with other ingredients. I’ve checked a number of recipes as well as the list of ingredients on an ajvar jar. Most of the recipes do not use tomatoes but tomato puree is included in the jarred ajvar. It has about 3% puree. Also very few recipes use onions. I’ve decided to use tomato puree and not onions. I will try onions next time.

Ajvar is mildly hot. You can add chillis to suit your taste. 


2 large eggplants
6 large red bell peppers
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ cup oil
Juice of 1 lemon or 3 tablespoon of vinegar
Salt and black pepper
2-3 tablespoons tomato puree (optional, I used cooked puree)
Chili - finely chopped or minced (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)

1. Heat oven to 400F/200C
2. Wash and dry eggplants and peppers. Half the eggplant and bell peppers lengthwise. Discard seeds from the peppers
3. Place eggplant and peppers on a baking tray cut side down and roast until the skins blister and turn black, about 30-45 minutes. 
4. Place eggplant and peppers in a heatproof bowl, cover and set aside for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove and discard the skins and mash or chop eggplant and peppers
6. Add all the rest of the ingredients. Ajvar is ready to rock and roll
7. It will keep in a refrigerator for up to 1 week. The taste will develop. I usually freeze in ice cube trays

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Swedish Brownies (Kladdkaka) Recipe

Kladdkaka / Swedish Brownie
Sometimes it happens that we buy chocolate to use in baking but when the time comes for baking we cannot find the chocolate. Chocolates have a tendency to vanish mysteriously, and never reappear again! It is times like this when recipes such as the one below come in very handy. This recipe does not require chocolate, just cocoa powder, but the result is just as good. Cocoa, butter and sugar substitute quite well for chocolate.

With such recipes you can buy your chocolate, 'make' it disappear and use cocoa powder to make brownies. Its likely that no one will notice the difference.

I checked many recipes for kladdkaka and none of them use chocolate. So it seems that it is normal for chocolates to mysteriously disappear in Sweden, hence such recipes are developed. 

Kladdkaka translates into sticky or gooey cake. It is a gooey moist chocolate cake, essentially a brownie. 

The brownie in the photos are not as gooey as you may expect. I baked the brownie for 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes. If you prefer a more gooey brownie bake for 15 minutes. 

I found the recipe on the side of a box of cocoa powder. 
Kladdkaka / Swedish Brownie

Sourdough Bread Recipe

Flaxseed wholemeal sourdough

Sourdough bread sounds complicated to make but in fact it is quite easy once a few steps are understood and mastered. I make sourdough bread every week and I find it easier to make than regular bread. The active time and effort required is actually less than going to a supermarket and buying bread. And it works out to be much cheaper. Before explaining the procedure for making sourdough I think it will be useful to understand the overall process in summary form followed by an explanation of different ‘components’ of sourdough. If you want, you can skip all these and go straight to the procedures. 

Summary of Procedures for Making Sourdough Bread
Here is a short summary of the procedures for making sourdough bread:
- make sourdough starter (takes 3-7 days, and you only need to do this once)
- Make a runny dough and add few tablespoons of sourdough starter. This is called a sponge. This step should take a few minutes only
- Add flavorings, other types of flours etc if you want but do not add salt. Leave it for many hours, such as overnight
- Add salt, flavorings and other types of flours (unless you already added it) and enough flour to make a bread dough. You don’t need to knead. This step should take a few minutes only
- Let the dough sit (proof) for many hours until it doubles in size
- Bake
Yeast is a living organism. Sourdough bread uses wild yeast as opposed to instant, fresh or other yeast used for making regular bread. Unlike regular yeast, wild yeast works much slower so it takes longer for sourdough bread to proof (rise).

Wild yeast that is captured in dough is called sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is like regular yeast, it needs to be added to dough for the bread to rise. 

Catching Wild Yeast
Wild yeast is in the atmosphere, on fruits and vegetables, pretty much everything I suppose. Catching wild yeast is a bit like fishing, you put bait (food) on the line and throw it in the water hoping that a hungry fish finds it. In a similar way a mixture of flour and water is food for yeast. If you leave this mixture sitting around it should attract some wild yeast. Fishing and catching wild yeast are also similar in the sense that you can catch them soon, after a while or not catch any. It depends on luck and a number of other factors.

Feeding Wild Yeast
Since yeast is a living organism it needs to be fed regularly otherwise it will starve to death. As the temperature drops the yeast starts to become less active and eventually become inactive, in other words it hibernates. Once the temperature rises the yeast comes out of hibernation and becomes active again. When the temperature exceeds 60C/140F the yeast will die. Hence the reason when working with yeast you should never use water or other liquids that are hot.

If you store your wild yeast in a cooler environment such as in the refrigerator you only need to feed it once a week. If you leave it at room temperature you may need to feed it everyday. If you freeze it, you don’t need to feed it of course. I have never frozen yeast so I don’t know how well they come back to life when defrosted.

On some occasions I left my sourdough starter in the refrigerator unfed for more than a week and they survived. They are a tough bunch I guess.

Life of a Sourdough Starter
If you regularly feed your sourdough starter it can be kept forever. There are bakeries that use sourdough starter that is hundreds of years old. My sourdough is a few months old. So you only need to make the sourdough starter once if you look after it.

By the way there is a Sourdough Hotel in Sweden. If you are going on holiday and no one will be feeding your sourdough you can leave it at the ‘hotel’ and they will look after it. It is a living thing after all, like your pet!

Here is a photo of my sourdough starter:

Sourdough starter
 You can see bubbles. In the photo it is difficult to see a layer of clear liquid (alcohol) on top of the starter.

I have read that sourdough starter can be dried and stored like other yeast. I have not tried this yet.

Procedure for Making Sourdough Bread 
Making Sourdough Starter 
The first step is to make the sourdough starter. Here are the steps:
- Wash a glass jar with warm water and detergent to sterilize it. I used a small pickled herring jar, any glass jar will work. You can use a big jar if you want.
- Mix together an equal amount of flour and water. The amount does not matter. Try perhaps 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon water.
- Put the flour water mixture in the jar, cover the jar with a cloth and leave it at a warm place somewhere in your house.
- After 24 hours mix together an equal amount of flour and water (1 tablespoon each) and add to the mixture that is already in the jar.
- Keep repeating the above step every 24 hours until you see the mixture getting slightly frothy with a slight sour aroma. When this happens congratulations, your flour water mixture has turned into sourdough starter. It can take 3-7 days. If nothing happens after 7 days, perhaps something has gone wrong. Try again from start
- Store your sourdough starter in the refrigerator unless you plan to make sourdough bread everyday, in which case leave it outside.
- Sometimes you will smell and notice a thin layer of alcohol on top of the starter. Don’t be alarmed, it is normal. Just mix the sourdough and it will be fine. However do not drink it. I have never tried and I don’t plan to.

Making Sponge
- Once you have the sourdough starter to make bread you need to first make a sponge. It sounds complicated but it is not. And from here my instructions get a bit vague because I never measure anything when making sourdough bread.
- Make a runny dough with flour and water, similar to a sourdough starter. It does not matter whether the dough is too runny (like light cream) or less runny (like thick cream). I use about 2 cups of flour.
- Take some of the sourdough starter (2-3 tablespoons perhaps) and add this to the dough that you just made. You can also add sugar or syrup to the sponge. Sugar or syrup makes the yeast work harder. I have tried with and without it. I didn’t notice much difference so I don’t add sugar or syrup.
- At this stage you can add flavourings, seeds, nuts, other types of flours etc but do not add salt at this stage. Salt inhibits yeast growth and activity
- Cover this sponge and leave it to proof for many hours, minimum 3-4 hours. I usually make sponge before going to bed and its ready the next morning. The reason for this step is to allow the wild yeast in the sourdough starter to multiply. You will notice small bubbles in the sponge. 
- Since you took some of the sourdough starter from your jar it needs to be replenished and the wild yeast needs to be fed. Add water/flour mixture and return to the refrigerator.

Making Dough and Proofing
- To the sponge that was sitting overnight (or for many hours) add salt, other flavourings (unless you added it earlier) and enough flour to form the dough that has the consistency required for making bread.
- Mix the dough. You don’t need to knead the dough. Since the dough will be proofing for many hours again the gluten forms anyway. I usually mix the dough with a spoon and that’s it. 
- Cover this dough with a wet tea towel and leave aside for several hours (proofing) until the dough doubles in size. I usually make the dough in the morning and it is ready for baking in the afternoon. In warmer temperatures less proofing time is required. Some bakeries proof the dough for up to 18 hours in humid cool conditions with temperature around 16-18C (60-65F). The longer it proofs the more developed the taste gets. 
- I always make enough dough to last me for about a week and I keep the dough in the refrigerator and bake what I need. Keeping in the refrigerator really helps to develop the flavor and improve the texture. It also means I only need to make the sponge and bread dough once a week and I can have freshly baked bread everyday, or many times during the day if I wanted. You may notice a slight alcohol aroma after a few days. Don’t be alarmed. It will evaporate when baked. 

- Place the dough in the bread tin or on the tray for free-form bread.
- Make slits/cuts across to allow the gas inside to escape and help in even rising 
- Bake at 220 degrees until the bread is done. I can’t tell you how long it takes, it depends on how high the dough is. I wait until the crust hardens and you hear a hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the loaf.

I have made sourdough with rolled oats, flax seeds, wheat flakes, rye flour and chili. You can add anything that you prefer. I usually add flavours etc during the ‘Making Sponge’ stage. You can also add it during the ‘Making Dough and Proofing’ stage. It does not really matter.

Summary of Procedures for Making Sourdough Bread
Here is a short summary of the procedures for making sourdough bread:
- make sourdough starter (takes 3-7 days, and you only need to do this once)
- Make a runny dough and add few tablespoons of sourdough starter. This is called a sponge. This step should take a few minutes only
- Add flavorings, other types of flours etc if you want but do not add salt. Leave it for many hours, such as overnight
- Add salt, flavorings and other types of flours (unless you already added it) and enough flour to make a bread dough. You don’t need to knead. This step should take a few minutes only
- Let the dough sit (proof) for many hours until it doubles in size
- Bake

As you can see the total active time required is not much. However it takes hours for proofing. You can time it so that it proofs while you are sleeping. In this way you don’t need to sit and wait.
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