“D’oh”

Back near the beginning of the year, you may recall, I began my experiments with sourdough. It was before lockdown and it was just a whim… a vague desire to see whether it was really possible to create, from scratch, a viable culture of micro-organisms with which to make bread. And then came coronavirus and everyone had to stay at home and madly started hoarding random things… including yeast. There was no yeast in the shops and so, suddenly, sourdough became “the thing”. By this time my culture was well established and I was using it for most of my yeasted baking. I’m sure that most cultures that were started during lockdown have long since passed away, but mine is going strong.

Anyway, a couple of months ago Kate (Tall Tales from Chiconia) mentioned that it is traditional to name sourdough cultures. I wasn’t feeling inspired, so I asked Mr Snail to come up with a suggestion. He though about it for a while, and finally proposed Homer… “because ‘D’oh!'”

And so, Homer is our sourdough starter. This meant that when we passed a portion on to a friend, it was naturally named Bart. Apparently Bart too is still going strong.

Anyway, in recent months I have become a little more adventurous with Homer and was delighted to discover what beautiful sweet, enriched dough it is possible to make. I found a recipe for cinnamon rolls that I adapted slightly to make apple Chelsea buns, and it was a triumph… better than my previous attempts made using commercial yeast.

The filling is grated apple with the juice squeezed out through a cloth, then mixed with melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. The glaze was made from the apple juice mixed with a bit of sugar (rather than the traditional milk and sugar mix), Although the dough is sweet, it actually doesn’t contain too much sugar, so the result is not sickly, especially if the apples are a bit sharp.

Homer is also now our go-to source of yeast for all bread-making and the packet of commercial yeast is languishing in the fridge, being used only occasionally because I feel I should use it up.

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31 Comments

  1. Homer is a great name. We called ours Martyn after our neighbour who is a bit sour. We didn’t tell him though.
    Those chelsea buns look delicious.

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  2. I never knew that was possible – that is real magic.

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  3. how wonderful. I tried and tried with ours, but couldn’t make anything that wasn’t extremely heavy. It all tasted good, but soooo dense. Back to the breadmaker for me.

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  4. Oooh, I love the idea of apple Chelsea Buns! I believe you can also make very tasty doughnuts with sourdough – I’m sure Homer would approve of that! Currently my Corinna is finding it a bit warm in her usual spot in the laundry, so I need to find somewhere else to keep her, which is cooler but not air conditioned.

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  5. I’ve been using my starter for some years now, and can strongly recommend a visit to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial . She is a sourdough grand master and her starter (Priscilla, queen of the fridge) has been shared worldwide, including some to Emilie Raffa who has written a fabulous recipe book for sourdough. Mine is the stickiest book in my kitchen.

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  6. They look great! I’ll def give that a try. My starter is now almost 8 years old. I call her Sheila, after my mum whose death I was recovering from when I began her. She’s kept us well fed all that time (as my mum took pride in doing all her life).

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  7. Yay, Homer! Beautiful! This post sure makes me wish we weren’t on a low-carb diet. 😉

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  8. Looks super, and the naming story made me laugh. I remember years ago doing the sourdough thing. Kind of forgot at some point and when I opened the fridge it was basically covered in dough.

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    • Mr Snail is generally good at naming things… although sometimes he’s a bit too clever and I have to think really hard to see his convoluted connections… this one was easy though.
      Fortunately we have managed to keep Homer under control so far – I think that tells you quite a lot about our bread consumption.

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  9. I am envious, but not envious enough to actually do it myself!

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  10. Doh! i only got as far as Homer and started laughing, so leaving the post on a high note. Thanks Beloved.

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  11. well this has made my day – love all the names that everyone has used.

    I’m not fond of sourdough breads, I’ve tried a few from bakeries etc but there is obviously something you have “practice with” so to speak…as for making anything doughy that includes with the (gifted) bread-maker (that has now gone to storage, read in laundry big cupboard) because I didn’t truly get any great loaves with that either! And I’m not even fond of loaves of bread, because before I know it – I’ve made many toasted cheese sannies, and it’s all gone. Instead, when I’m out, I’ll buy a sandwich…

    However, I do have a excellent recipe for a banana loaf which is usually made once a week…moreish it is.

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