Sourdough is notorious for being tricky but as long as you are willing to put the time and effort in I know you can nail it! Trust me it is worth the effort. This recipe is super simple and broken down step by step so anyone can do it. To keep it even simpler I have used one type of flour so don’t worry about hunting down different types.
Please read the whole recipe several times before you start to ensure you understand the process in whole and have all the equipment you will need.
Prep Time: Approximately 48 hours
Cook Time: 50 mins
Portions: 2 Loafs
- 1 Tbsp Starter
- 50g (1/4 cup) Water
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 700g (5 cups) Strong Bread Flour
- 475 g (2 cups) Water
First you will need to make your starter. This acts as the raising agent (like a yeast) and gives your bread that fantastic sour taste and bubbles. This will take about a week to create but once you have it, it can be kept in the fridge for several months.
So to create your starter all you need is equal parts flour and water.
Take 50g of Strong Bread Flour and mix with 50g warm water until it becomes a paste and put in a container with a lid. I used a large yoghurt pot but you can use whatever you have at home. Now put the lid on and leave for 24 hour. Now 24 hours have gone its time to feed it, however if you look at your starter and there are no bubbles you can leave it another 24 hour before you feed it. If it looks alive and bubbly take two table spoons of your starter and put in a bowl and add 50g Strong Bread Flour and 50g Water and mix well. You can now get ride of the left over starter (this makes great pancakes) then put your newly mixed starter back in your container and leave for another 24 hours. Then repeat the process for about 5 days until it looks bubbly and full of life and has a strong sour smell.
Before we can create the bread we need to make the leaven out of the starter. To do this you need to combine two table spoons of your starter with 75g (1/2 cup) Strong Flour with 75g (1/3 Cup) water and mix to create a thick paste. You now need to cover this and leave over night (over 12 hours).
Now you have your leaven it’s time to test it. To do this you need to drop a small amount into a cup of water and if it flouts it’s ready to use. If it doesn’t leave it a few more hours to activate.
Now your leaven is ready to use add 475g (2 cups) of water to your leaven and mix well with your hand until it is completely dissolved. Then add your flour and mix to form a rough but together dough. Now leave this to rest for 3-4 hours.
Whiles you wait for your dough dissolve 1 Tbsp of salt in 50g (1/4 cup) of water and leave to one side.
Ok so 3 – 4 hours have passed it is now time to pour your salted water over top of the dough and mix into the dough. To do this use your finger tips to squish the water into the dough. Do this until it is completely dissolved.
Next it is time to fold your dough. That’s right fold not knead. To do this take one side of your dough and fold over to the other side of the dough then turn your bowl and do the same again, then turn your bowl again then do the same, and you guessed it turn one last time and fold again so you should have folded the dough over itself 4 times (be sure to turn the bowl the same way each time. So either clockwise or anti-clockwise). Ok, now that is done this whole process counts as 1 fold you will need to do this whole proses again every 30 mins until you have completed the process 6 times (So another 5 ) (I told you you would need plenty of time).
Now you have completed your final fold let your dough rest for 30-60mins.
30 – 60 mins have passed, it is now time to shape your dough. So split your dough in half and use your hand to shape each dough into a circular shape and again let the two shaped doughs rest for about 20 mins.
In the mean time prep your proving bowl or if your like me and don’t actually have one you can take a large bowl and put a clean tea towel in it and cover in flour so your dough doesn’t stick. Now your dough has rested it’s time to reshape and put into your proving basket. To do this take one side of the dough and fold over to the other side of the dough like you did earlier and do the same to the other side (this will help keep the shape of the dough). Now take your dough and put it seam side up in your bowl/ proving basket and leave covered for a further 4 hour or even over night in the fridge.
To cook your bread you will need an oven prof dish with a lid as this is what will help create a crisp crust. So preheat your oven with your dish inside at 260c/ Gas Mark 9.
Now flour the top of your dough and careful take your pan out the over and put your dough in the pan seam faced down and take a shape knife and score the top of your bread. I like to do one line straight down the middle but you can do whatever you like, experiment.
Now cook on 260c/ Gas Mark 9 for 20 mins with the lid on and then drop the temperature to 230c / Gas Mark 8 and continue to cook with the lid on for 10 mins more then finally take the lid off and cook for a further 20 mins until it become crisp and dark in colour.
Then make sure you let your dough cool before you cut and then enjoy.