How to make a basic loaf of sourdough when you have NO IDEA.
Making your own bread, I believe, is one of the best skills you can have. There's no gift like being able to take some flour, water and salt and turn it into a soft, delicious loaf of homemade sourdough bread for less than $2 a loaf. BUT I'm not baker! As with most things, who am I to let that stop me? Or stop you for that matter and so, I've created my 'dummies' guide to making sourdough so you too can pretend you're a professional baker and wow them all.
LETS GET STARTED:
Firstly, you need a starter, this is like a living yeast that magically turns flour and water into bread. Yes, you can make your own and if you Google "how to make a starter" there are plenty of videos and instructions online. I got mine from a friend, and if you do a general post on Social Media I bet you have a friend that has one too. It's the easiest way to get started and most sourdough bakers would love to pass on some of their extra starter.
Like a plant, or a puppy, you have to keep it alive by feeding and watering it every day. I usually dump out (I know...) about 1/2 cup of the starter a day and then add another 1/2 cup rye flour and 1/2 cup water to the starter. Making sure to stir it well. BUT this isn't a 'how to keep a starter' tutorial so I'd suggest doing some online searching.
There are also plenty of online videos and recipes for using up the excess starter so that you don't have to pour it down the drain.
So, how do we make our house smell like delicious baked bread?
1. In the early morning or late evening (your dough needs 8-10 hours to rise) grab a large bowl and add 1/2 cup starter mixture, 1.5 cups filtered water and 1 tsp sea salt. Mix well.
2. Add 3 1/2 cups of white flour (I use organic, but you don't need to). Combine until it comes together enough to pick up with your hands. It will still be a bit sticky but should still be manageable. Add more water or flour if you need to Leave to sit in the bowl, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Pick up the dough (add a bit of flour if you need to) and place on a floured surface. Gently knead, adding flour as you go if it's too sticky, until you have a nice smooth ball.
4. Sprinkle some flour in your bowl and place the dough ball into the bowl to rise for 8-10 hours. Make sure to cover the bowl with a damp tea towel so the dough doesn't dry out.
5. Get another bowl ready that has a floured tea towel in it (or use a fancy proving basket).
6. Once your dough has risen for 8-10 hours remove it from the bowl again and knead it just a few times to 'beat it down' and make it look like it did when you first put it in the bowl. Place it smooth side down into your floured tea towel inside the other bowl.
7. Allow this to rise for another hour to an hour and a half (depending how warm it is in your house). Preheat your oven to 250 degrees with a dutch oven/ sturdy casserole/ camp oven/ heating inside of it.
8. Use baking paper to cover the top of your bowl/tea towel with the dough and gently flip the bowl over catching the dough in the baking paper. Place the dough and the baking paper into your casserole pot (careful it's hot, as you'll see in my video where I burned myself!) Place the lid on your casserole and 'score' the bread (see video - it's hard to describe). Bake the bread at 210 degrees for 30 minutes.
9. After 30 minutes remove the lid quickly and bake the bread for another 10-15 minutes or so until it looks nice and golden brown on top. You can decrease the temperature to 180 if you like but usually I keep it on 210 or so.
10. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes or so on a baking rack before eating. The hardest part, I know!
And voila! Sourdough bread! You did it!
That may sound like a lot of work but there really isn't much to it. Have a watch of my SUPER AMATEUR video below complete with retro kitchen in need of renos, burned arms and really bad filming. :)