How to nail the perfect sourdough

Sourdough queen Michelle Eshkeri shares tips and recipes for the perfect loaf


Book Reviews
Cheddar and Paprika bread from Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri. Photo: Patricia Niven.

Cheddar and Paprika bread from Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri. Photo: Patricia Niven.

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North London breadmaker behind Margot Bakery shares recipes in her new book Modern Sourdough

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IN THIS day and age of instant gratification when we can pop out to a fast food restaurant or buy a loaf of pre-wrapped bread off the supermarket shelf, the thought of spending three weeks making a starter to bake our own bread and then hours kneading and resting and baking before producing a loaf of our own may seem somewhat daunting.

However London baker Michelle Eshkeri's book Modern Sourdough: Sweet and Savoury Recipes from Margot Bakery is such a delicious exploration of the joys of baking that it's hard to resist getting your hands all doughy and filling the kitchen with the alluring aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries.

The book is filled with 100 mouth watering recipes for sourdough bread, crumpets, Danish pastries, pain au chocolait, croissants, naturally leavened pizzas, challah, foccacia, French pastries brioche and babka, muffins, cakes, sweet loaves and savoury loaves which draw on Michelle's Jewish and Australian heritage.

The book expands our understanding of sourdough and its potential and what would bread be without delicious spreads? Sure enough there are a number of recipes for jams, pickles, curds and creams also.

Featuring a step-by-step guide to making a sourdough starter as well as methods and techniques from folding and shaping to scoring and baking, Michelle demonstrates how you too can make Margot's signature loaves.

Michelle Eshkeri was born in Manchester but grew up in Australia before moving to London at the age of 22.

Michelle opened Margot in a dilapidated ex post-office around the corner from her home and set about creating a bakery which would become a centre of community life and place to buy wonderful breads and pastries where everything is produced on site.

With passion and determination I sincerely believe anyone can make good bread. - Michelle Eshkeri in her book Modern Sourdough

There isn't a night shift, so the bread, pastries and cakes fill the counter and the shelves throughout the day.

The menu is guided by what customers are excited about; favourites, festivals, celebrations and seasonal produce, using seeds, whole grains and a long fermentation process to make full-flavoured, nutritious and delicious bread.

Michelle's Modern Sourdough book is not only filled with wonderful recipes but is a visual delight of hundreds of superb photographs guaranteed to send you to the kitchen to start making sourdough starters, mixing, kneading, plaiting and finally consuming bread and cakes make with love and patience and passion.

This is a book which will appeal to the cook in everyone. It's a joyful exploration of the love of traditional baking, of making wonderful breads and treats for family and friends.

Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri, $45.00, (c) White Lion Publishing. Images copyright (c) Patricia Niven'. On sale September 3.

Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri, $45.00, (c) White Lion Publishing. Images copyright (c) Patricia Niven'. On sale September 3.

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