John-Paul Flintoff

Er, I don't only make clothes

Home made sourdough loaf

When I wrote Sew Your Own, I tried to make it clear that sewing and knitting aren't the only craft skills I wanted to learn – and that others could enjoy. I also built a bookcase, and wrote about that.

But one of the things that's given me the most pleasure in the last few years is making my own bread. And thanks to Annalisa Barbieri I have been making sourdough for the last year and a half.

Hearing that I made a lot of bread already, Annalisa gave my wife (her colleague) a jar full of starter for me to use. My daughter quickly recognised the living yeasts as the closest thing we have to a pet animal, and named it Squidgy. Each week, and often more than once a week, Squidgy goes into making a new loaf, and a chunk goes back into Squidgy’s jar.

(If not fed in this way Squidgy might go off. That is why my brother in law looked so pained after I asked him to look after our pet during the two weeks of summer holidays. ‘I didn’t realise what I was taking on,’ he said.)

Usually I congratulate myself that the latest loaf is the best ever, though not always. Here is today’s – a classic. I used about half organic white flour, and the rest was a mix of wholewheat spelt and rye.

Thanks Annalisa!

Posted: May 6, 2012