Q&A with Josh: Founder of You Knead Sourdough

You Knead Sourdough Q&A

Welcome to You Knead Sourdough. 

Whether you’re here because you're an avid reader of our Sourdough Stories blog, or are a recent sourdough convert after purchasing one of your Complete Sourdough Starter Kits – we thought we would introduce you to the founder, Josh.

We sat down with Josh to ask him all of our burning questions about how he got into baking sourdough, some of his must-have baking tools and some of his best-kept secrets to making the perfect loaf. 

Just like we always say when it comes to tackling one of our delicious sourdough recipes, let’s dive right in…

Hi Josh, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Josh! I’m 32 years-old and I live in South Australia with my partner Kirsten and my daughter Elsie. I am an engineer by trade but my true passion is cooking!

How did you get into baking sourdough

I actually attempted my first sourdough loaf many years ago, but failed miserably and didn’t try again until around 2018. I had seen a post from someone on Instagram of their amazing homemade sourdough loaf and was determined to do it myself. 

I did heaps of research and started the process (which took quite a while to get everything together, plus waiting time for my starter to become really good enough to bake with). My first loaf was just OK, but with more practice and a well matured starter I’m now really happy with my loaves!

Why sourdough? Why not, cakes or banana bread?

Porque no los dos? I love all baked goods! Granted, sourdough is definitely a more common bake for me, as I eat it every day, but I do love a good banana bread. There is nothing more satisfying though pulling out a well risen sourdough loaf that you started 24 hours earlier.

What made you want to start a sourdough-baking business rather than keeping a hobby?

Sourdough bread

I was getting so many questions from family and friends about how to make sourdough – my answer was always how easy it was and that anyone can do it. This gave me the idea to start a business and help as many people as possible.

Thousands of people have now made sourdough using the Complete Sourdough Starter Kit. It’s pretty cool to know that the starter I made in my kitchen a few years ago now lives on thousands of people’s benches. Hopefully they can keep their starter alive and active and pass it on to their kids. That’s my plan for the future!

What are 3 must-have tools for any sourdough baker? 

  1. A rattan banneton. It really helps to draw out excess moisture from the skin of the dough, which in turn helps to achieve an extra crunchy crust when you pull it out of the oven. Plus, it gives a beautiful pattern on the baked loaf of bread!
  2. A good bench scraper. Sourdough is sticky stuff, so having a good bench scraper is an absolute must. I remember when I first started that I was using a spatula to try and scrape my dough off the bench…obviously this didn’t work very well and I basically always had a doughy residue on my bench at all times.
  3. A dutch oven. Even though you can bake bread without this and achieve a great result, a good dutch oven really takes sourdough to the next level. It helps to lock in steam (better than boiling water in a tray in your oven) which helps the bread to rise before the crust is set. Plus, a good dutch oven can be used for tons of other cooking – I use mine for a good winter casserole pretty regularly.

What’s the secret to making good sourdough?

Consistency and having the right tools. I think the best tip is to keep baking even through the fails (I’ve had many), as you will inevitably make some mistakes when first starting out. Plus, everyone’s kitchens and ovens are different, which can lead to different results. It's all an experiment in the end to find out what works best for you.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started making sourdough?

How easy it really is! That was my biggest barrier to entry, and the more videos and articles I read the more confused I was. There were so many different methods and opinions from different people out there, and I think that can be scary to some people. Once you really strip it all down and go back to basics, it’s just flour, starter, water and salt, plus time, that equals sourdough. 

You can try and add extra little steps here and there, but in the end just follow the basics and you will be fine. Our instructions on the site aim to make it as basic as possible to help anyone (from complete beginners to expert cooks) make their own sourdough!

What are some of the best or weirdest things that you’ve seen people make with sourdough/starters?

Sourdough bagels

There are so many amazing things that you can make with your starter. My favourite are crumpets, as it’s just straight sourdough discard and nothing else needs to be added. A weird thing that I never would have thought of doing was using a sourdough discard to batter onion rings. I thought it was genius and I can’t wait to try it!

Here are some other great recipes that you can make with your discard (recipe sections coming to the site soon):

  • Pretzels
  • Bagels
  • Brownies
  • Pizza dough
  • Crackers
  • Donuts
  • Cinnamon scrolls

If you’re feeling inspired after hearing Josh speak about how easy it is to make sourdough, why not give our Sourdough Bread Recipe a try? Just like Josh said, it’s simple so bakers of all experience levels can use it to bake their own homemade sourdough. 

If you need some more sourdough content in your life, be sure to follow us on Facebook and TikTok and be sure check out @youkneadsourdough on Instagram. Just make sure you tag us at #youkneadsourdough on Instagram so we can see your sourdough creations for ourselves. 

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