About Claire's Kitchen
Having always lived and worked in schools, in 2018 I decided to take a break from teaching and explore new avenues. Initially I started to investigate a long time dream to run a family friendly, child orientated cafe and as part of this I went on a day’s sourdough course in January 2020. Little did I know how addictive, mesmerising and therapeutic sourdough could be or that a pandemic was about to hit. This combination changed my business direction.
I baked sourdough everyday for the next 7 months and gave it away to friends and key workers. Instagram opened up a whole new world of people doing the same thing and I discovered a world of ‘micro bakers’; a term I had never heard of before. I knew quite quickly this was something I wanted to pursue.
I enrolled in a Bread Angels Micro Bakery course in September 2020 and over the next couple of months went on two other courses to deepen my knowledge and understanding of sourdough bread and local grain. I started selling bread at the same time and have been baking to order on a Friday ever since. I have added to my range and am constantly experimenting and evolving my baking repertoire.
In the summer of 2023 I was looking to expand my professional life and it unexpectedly took a slightly different direction. I am now combining my teaching and baking skills on a full time basis. I haven't said goodbye to Claire's Kitchen completely and will be offering Pop Up bake days and still offering my Introduction to Sourdough courses.
What is Sourdough?
Sourdough is not one particular type of bread but a term given to breads and bakes made with naturally occurring or wild yeasts rather than a single strain or commercial one. It is the oldest form of baking.
The fresh or dried yeast bought in a shop or bakery has been specifically farmed to get a strong yeast strain to leaven the dough more quickly. This type of baking has only been happening since industrialisation during the nineteenth century.
Sourdough or wild yeast is a collection of thousands of different yeast strains found within the flour and environment particular to the baker using it. This means the (sour) dough takes longer to rise and ferment hence giving sourdough its unique texture and depth of flavour. It is also the reason many people find sourdough breads much easier to digest.
It's also why each baker’s sourdough is different to another’s and we each have our own subtle but distinctive variations. In Holland there is actually a sourdough library to try and capture and record all the unique sourdough leavens out in the world!