Say hello to Corinna

She’s a bubbly blonde.

OK, she’s a sourdough starter, but she’s definitely got personality. She’s also the second of that name, Corinna #1 having been stored as dehydrated flakes too long before being reconstituted. I started Corinna #2 a week ago, with rye flour and filtered water in carefully measured proportions and left her to get to work in a cloth-covered glass jar. Why rye? Wholemeal, rye, spelt or other whole grain flours give your starter a better, well, start. After that initial boost, you feed her with ordinary plain/all-purpose flour (not bread flour) until she’s double her original size, very bubbly and ready to get to work.

Why Corinna you ask? (And even if you don’t, you’re going to be told, so there). I am a huge fan of Kerry Greenwood’s Earthly Delights series of books, about Corinna Chapman, bread baker extraordinaire and occasional sleuth, based in Melbourne. She is a woman of creative talent, dedication, compassion and comfortable build, and keeps a bucket of ‘mother of bread’ starter in her bakery, and I hope my (much blonder) Corinna is worthy of her example.

There are endless blogs out there on sourdough and how to make it, so that’s not happening here. Others have vastly more experience, better written posts and gorgeous photography. Here’s my favourite: Celia of Fig Jam & Lime Cordial has made the most amazing bread-baking resource available to us lesser mortals, and has enabled me to bypass some of the more common problems by taking her advice and following her recipes. She is a sourdough goddess!

Look what Corinna and I made today:

It’s leftover starter, flour, water, honey and salt. Alchemy! Or focaccia, as the rest of you know it, baked into a pizza base. I wanted to test how lively the starter was, and focaccia is quick and simple. And clearly, Corinna is more than ready for duty; the dough texture was perfect, and it was yummy and chewy except for the crispy outer crust, which was perfect and didn’t lacerate your mouth. There’s enough for dinner for us both, and lunch for us both tomorrow. Next step is a nice basic white loaf…

Now, out of my way! Fresh hot pizza calling!