When I first built my cold smoker, we were chucking everything in there, from bacon to tomatoes, flour to oil and sugar to apples, among a plethora of other ingredients just to satisfy our inquisitive minds.
Some things worked perfectly, others needed some refining, some things didn’t work and others just kind of sat there waiting for the right time to experiment further with the product.
The flour was one of said products, I had used it for a couple of applications like, dusting my chicken with it before frying to get a smokey crust, or using it to thicken soups or sauces. The main vision I had for this smoked flour was to make a French country style loaf, the pane de campaign.
Despite our best intentions and due to busy schedules we never got around to making our sourdough. So when we met John and Steve from Textbook Patisserie and got talking with them, we found they were like minded souls who had wanted to play around with smoked flour, they had the facilities to knock up a few batches and to refine them, I personally love working with talented like minded people who are willing to push the boundaries to a common goal. No task seems too big or unachievable then great things happen, I believe that great things have happened in the form of the smoked sourdough.
Here are a few words from Steven Anderson about his experience working with the smoked flour:
“I knew maintaining flavours and aromas within a loaf of bread through the long, often harsh, process of baking is difficult, but we gave it a go,” Steven said.
“I simply used the recipe and process for Textbook’s white and wholemeal sourdoughs, and where the recipe called for white flour or wholemeal flour, I used the smoked flour provided by Tommy and Jess.
“Mixing the dough, I observed the characteristics of the dough, water absorption and gluten development. It seemed to be coming together with no issue. Through fermentation and shaping, all the dough characteristics were the same as regular sourdough bread.”
Then began the long wait until the following day for results. The dough had developed and proofed well overnight, then after placing the dough into the oven there was still a great smokey aroma coming from the loaf – subtle, but present.
“The baking process is 45 minutes long with the final stage having the damper open to create a crispy crust. Upon opening the damper, the sweet, nutty and smokey aroma filled the entire bakery. It was such a pleasant moment! Never as a baker have I experienced this aroma from an oven of bread. Upon opening the door of the oven the aroma smacked you in the face – almost like the steam does if your face is too close,” he said.
“We cut into the loaves and did the baker thing; hold the loaf close to your nose, squeeze and breathe in. Wow, that same nutty, sweet, caramel, flora, smoke aroma was present and when chewing and savouring the bread, it all just came together – the chewy moist crumb and the crisp crackling crust just made the experience complete.
“The flavour kept building as you ate the white bread, so we have dialed down the smoked flour in the recipe. We no longer use 100 per cent smoked flour, but have found the slightly lower percentage allows for a longer lasting appeal.”
Textbook is now working with the white and the wholemeal at the moment, and is keeping the bread as a weekend special. As I write this, the boys are two weeks in, and have already had people asking for the bread specifically.
I personally like the smoked sourdough to be served as a feature in a cheese and tomato toastie, so each component can come together in harmony, and give you a unique sandwich experience.
To read our full articles on, smoking, sweet and savoury treats click on the links below.
Thanks for reading everybody if there is anything you would like to get my opinion on please don't hesitate to get in contact, more than happy for suggestions on blog posts.