Mr Gumby Reply to on 10 March 2013
|It seems to me that the recipes weren't tested after being prepared for publication.
One example is "Sourdough Flapjacks" where the ingredients for the Starter are listed as 240ml water, 130g flour and 2 tbps sugar. The instructions then say "Add the flour and salt to the water". What salt?! It isn't listed in the ingredients. And what am I supposed to do with the sugar? It isn't mentioned in the instructions.
OK, I can guess that I should add a small amount of salt, even though it isn't among the ingredients, and the sugar should be added with the flour and salt. But what if errors in other recipes are less obvious?
Worst of all, the recipe won't work without some kind of leaven. There's no mention of a sourdough starter or yeast anywhere in the recipe. I even tried following the recipe, just to be sure, in case there was enough natural yeast in the flour or atmosphere to do the job. Needless to say, there wasn't.
For all I know, all the other recipes are spot on, but I'm not prepared to risk it, not when there are three errors in a simple, four-ingredient "Starter".
Two other comments...there are no photos or anything else to indicate what the finished item should look like. That isn't the end of the world but, without photos, the book seems significantly over-priced. On a positive note, in case you were wondering, ingredients are given in grams or millilitres as well as inaccurate cup measures.
Fortunately, I borrowed my copy from the library before deciding whether to buy. It's going back tomorrow!
I looked at the grey sludge that was supposed to be a starter and decided to see what I could do with it. I mixed about 3g (2/3 tsp) 'instant' yeast with a tablespoon or so of flour, added it to the sludge and left it 24 hours, then followed the recipe to make the 'flapjacks'. It worked and they were very good - light and spongy with a lovely flavour. I used half white and half buckwheat flour, 3g yeast, just 15g (1 tbsp) sugar and no salt in the starter (plus the suggested 240ml or 240g water). I added a small pinch of salt to the main mix, not the suggested 1 tsp. The batter was quite liquid, so I used buttered crumpet rings to shape them on the griddle and create 'flapjacks' about the size of thin English crumpets. Making them free-form would probably work fine and you'd finish up with something more like Scottish crumpets.
The book's still going back though. I don't trust it.