If you were the only one in your friendship circle to miss the sourdough train last year, it’s not too late to get on board. But obtaining and maintaining a starter – the naturally occurring culture used in place of store-bought yeast in sourdough – can feel a little out of reach for some. So Adelaide engineer and former hospitality worker Josh Timms is selling complete starter kits to help you kickstart your new favourite pastime.
Timms began making sourdough bread a couple of years ago – before the Great Sourdough Bake-offs of 2020 – and it quickly became a hit. “I’d take it to family things and friends’ houses and everyone would ask how I make it, and it’s really quite simple. So I wanted to show people it is quite easy.
He launched You Knead Sourdough in January. “I had the idea [to send kits out] last year but we never really had a lockdown to the degree that other states did, and I’m in construction management so our sites kept going,” he continues.
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“But people are still quite interested … and it’s nice to see people home-cooking. I love it and if it makes it a little easier to start that’s good.”
The kits come with a sachet of dried starter flakes, bread flour from Flinders Ranges Premium Grain, plus baking equipment including an oval banneton for proofing, a whisk, dough scraper and lame for scoring (you can also buy these products individually on his website).
The dried starter is Timms’s own batch, which he started from scratch two years ago. “Initially I was just doing it in my oven – it was small little batches so it was easy enough to have the oven fan on for a day and it would slowly dry out,” he says.
“You get it active then spread a thin layer on some baking paper and it dries out over time. Similar to the way you’d dehydrate fruit in an oven. Eventually I was running out of space and it was taking too long to make the amount I needed. So I’ve bought a dehydrator now and it’s a lot faster and easier. I’ve tested almost every batch I’ve done now and it’s always come back really strong.”
The kit also comes with a QR code to access online instructions. (They’re also available directly on the website with some very helpful photos).
Timms is still fine-tuning his guides to make things as easy as possible for people to follow, and he recommends users get in touch via social media or email with any questions. “I usually answer straight away,” he says.
He’s also included links to Youtube videos for extra help. “My next step is to make some of that content myself. But it’s early stages and I wanted to be as clear as I could. You can try and describe how to stretch and fold as much as possible but it’s just so much easier to see someone else do it.”
And if you need more tips and tricks, here’s some we prepared earlier: