In The Sourdough School: The Ground-Breaking Guide to Making Gut-Friendly Bread by Vanessa Kimble, readers will learn to master the art of sourdough from the expert herself. Kimble uses the teachings from her renowned Sourdough School in a brilliant compilation of easy-to-follow instructions and stunning photography. Readers of all experience levels can try their hand at the timeless craft of artisan baking with this indispensable guide. The following excerpt is from Chapter 8, "Formulas."
In April, the garden at the School comes alive. The birds sing their hearts out, and the cherry trees are laden with blossom. The ramson, with its pretty, star-shaped flowers, is tucked under an ancient beech tree at the bottom. Making a herb butter with it is a wonderfully easy way to get a rich, full-flavored sourdough bread. I love to use a mortar and pestle rather than a blender, simply for the joy of it: I cannot deny myself the satisfaction of crushing the ingredients together. The butter is added to the center of the dough on its final shaping, and trickles and oozes through the bread as it bakes.
- A large handful of ramson (wild garlic) leaves, plus extra to decorate
- 100g ghee or unsalted butter
- A large handful of grated hard cheese, such as Parmesan
- Coarse sea salt and ground black pepper, to season
- Chop the ramson directly into a mortar in the tiniest lengths possible using scissors, then add the butter and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in the cheese. It should be thick enough to spread easily. Season with salt and pepper.
- To store, cover and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
- Ramson (wild garlic) is only in season for a couple of months of the year, so if you can't find any, or when it is out of season, use oregano, marjoram, coriander, parsley, sage, or a herb of your choice. Or use lemon or orange zest and cinnamon at Christmas.
- Be absolutely certain that what you are using is ramson — it looks remarkably similar to poisonous plants such as lily of the valley. It should smell like garlic, but if in any doubt, do not use.
- Don't be tempted to overload the boule with paste, and make sure all the butter is inside the boule. Don't overdo the shaping or it will burst out of the sides.
- Line the banneton with ramson leaves and any flowers for a very pretty effect.
More from The Sourdough School:
- Bread-Making Basics: Getting Started on Your Sourdough
- Why You Should Sprout Your Grains and Seeds
- Malting Grain to Boost Your Sourdough
- Russian Rye Bread Using Excess Sourdough Starter
- Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnut Bread
Excerpted from The Sourdough School, by Vanessa Kimble © 2018. Published by Kyle Books, and photographs © Nassima Rothacker. No images may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher.