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  • Hi Georgina…the starter is dead easy…put equal amounts of flour and water in a jar or jug with a loose lid so that the air can get in a bit. Whisk it up with a wooden spoon handle or a plastic spoon (don't use metal!). Then everyday feed it with one spoon of water and one spoon of flour and whisk up again. After one week it will be ready to use…and you just keep on adding to the remainder. I started my mother about two years ago now (but some bakers are very proud to have mothers that were started a hundred years ago!).

    When you first make the starter it might smell a bit like beer fermenting…but don't worry if it does…it's supposed to! The older it gets the better it gets after that.
    And don't worry if you forget to feed it one day…when you do it the next day it will start fermenting again. If you want to get the 'real' taste into the ftira then you need the mother I think. But it still tastes pretty good if you do it with the quick overnight thing!

    You can even divide the dough into two round loaves if you like…as sometimes a ftira is too big if there aren't many of you at home. Unless I'm expecting family for dinner..I make just two loaves and freeze one…rather than forming the dough into one large ftira.

    I haven't been able to find a bread stone/pizza stone in England…but after some experimentation I found that if you heat up a terracotta or even pyrex dish until it gets very hot…about half an hour at Gas No. 8…you get much better results than you do with a baking sheet – and no danger of it sticking as there is with the baking sheet.

    It took me some time to get it right…but it doesn't matter if you leave it in the oven a bit longer. I check it and if it isn't brown enough, turn the dish around and leave it a bit longer until it looks well done. You can test if it's done by turning the bread out of the dish onto a towel and tapping the underside…it should sound hollow…if it doesn't leave it a bit longer – and if the bread is very brown on top, just turn the oven down to No. 7 for five minutes longer.

    To post the photos you go on to the ilovefood wall and at the top you click on 'photos' and then you can download them onto the wall…but I haven't yet figured out how to download a pic next to a recipe post on the discussions page…but will ask Tony.

    Wow! Twenty years you've been looking for a recipe that worked!! This one will get better the more you practice..!

    Posted on 21:47 on 14 June