Sourdough and FLexercise- a winning combination

Sourdough September is upon us again. Our lovely FLexercise teacher Phillippa Porritt, from Orkney, is a bakery queen. We asked her to tell us more.

Few things beat the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s homely, inviting, and comforting. However, if normal bread makes you feel bloated, why not try sourdough?  Sourdough is naturally fermented, meaning the tough outer shell of the grain is broken down before we eat it. This makes it easier to absorb and is gentler on the gut making, it a much more healthy addition to your diet. You can enjoy your carb craving without messing with your microbiome. https://lizearlewellbeing.com/what-is-a-microbiome/

What is sourdough?

Making sourdough is the practice of nurturing the yeasts and bacteria naturally present in flour to foster a thriving sourdough starter culture, whose microbial magic makes the dough rise. It’s actually the oldest way of leavening a loaf.

The starter (or mother) is just ordinary bread flour, salt and water combined and fermented.  Each bread type has its own starter. The mothers are quite high maintenance! We feed ours daily with a 50:50 blend of flour and water. The amount of starter used in each bread is a baker’s secret!!

What made you take up sourdough baking?

My husband’s hobby has always been cooking, so he started mastering the art of making bread. This quickly led to a fascination with sourdough. We recently moved to a property in Orkney with self-catering cottages, a campsite and a building that had been a café over 20 years ago.

We decided to reopen it and create the sort of place we would want to visit if we were on holiday. Homemade soup with lovely fresh bread, awesome coffee ( a must!), and a great atmosphere with friendly staff. We both worked in the café, making cakes, scones, soup, and our own bread. Oh, and of course the best coffee on the island…apparently! As our customers tasted our sourdough bread they asked if we could make extra to buy. And so, the bakery was born.

It wasn’t long before we added to our repertoire. The sourdough pizzeria has been a brilliant addition. It’s been fun to create scrummy toppings for genuinely healthy pizza. And, it’s been something for the locals to look forward to at the weekend.

So, where does FLexercise fit in?

I trained as a FLexercise teacher in 2013, having been a member since 1987.  I have also recently become more interested in overall wellness. With diet & exercise being equally important to your overall health. I have severe asthma which means the low impact exercise in an FLexercise class is really beneficial.

Previously I taught a couple of classes a week in Perth and Dunblane and I have since set up a village class here in Orkney. When I started my classes in our village it was a great way to connect with women in the local area. Helping me to integrate into our new location. Many of my class participants became customers of our restaurant and our sourdough loaves. We really have become part of the community.

How did lockdown affect you?

Unfortunately, due to my asthma, since lockdown began I have not been able to teach my FLexercise classes. However, I’ve really enjoyed participating in the fantastic online 10@10 classes on the FLexercise Facebook page. I’ve been sharing these and other fitness tips on my own Facebook page to try and keep my members updated and motivated.

I haven’t had time to teach my own online classes because we weren’t able to have any staff help us during lockdown. But there has been so much amazing content on the Facebook page that I don’t think it’s been a problem.

Hopefully, we will be able to return to face to face teaching soon but my severe lung condition means I will have to wait a bit longer.

Our business has been keeping us busy as we’ve run it right through lockdown.  We have even been sending our sourdough bread by mail to customers all over the UK. The pizzeria has gone from strength to strength by running as a drive-thru providing much-needed treats for our local community.

As #sourdoughseptember comes around again we can focus on all things sourdough and keep up the FLexercise classes online until we can all return to something that resembles normal.