If you haven't tried making your own sourdough bread yet, now is your chance! Using basically flour, water, salt, and starter (but how do I make my own sourdough starter?) you can end up with something truly beautiful and delicious. There's kind of a wonderful magic to it all. It may seem scary, but once you perfect it, you'll be obsessed. I mean, look at it. All warm and toasty.
To use your new starter, try this easy formula. You only need a small amount of starter and a few simple ingredients. Feed your sourdough starter in the morning so that by 7pm you can use it to make up this overnight dough. You will need 5 oz (140 g) of starter for this formula and there should be enough left over so you can feed it and put it away.
2 x 8-in bannetons
Peel for moving the dough
Lame or sharp knife
Spray bottle of water
Thick oven mitts
Lid made from foil or a roasting pan lid
Bread thermometer (optional)
5 oz (140 g) vigorous starter
18 oz (510 g) water at room temperature
2 oz (55 g) wholewheat flour
19 oz (540 g) bread flour
1⁄2 oz (17 g) salt
8 oz (225 g) bread flour
Flour, for dusting
Dusting flour or cornmeal
At 7pm, mix all of the above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl or dough trough to form ragged dough. Cover and leave to autolyse for one hour.
At 8pm, add the salt, stir, and add the flour. Work the flour into the dough until well incorporated—this will take a bit of effort. Cover the dough tightly to prevent it drying out and leave to stand at room temperature overnight (you can cover the dough with oil to prevent drying), folding the dough once before you go to bed.
The following morning, divide the dough into 2 and shape each piece into rounds/boules (do a preliminary shaping for both boules). Bench rest both boules for 20 minutes. Do a final shaping of the first boule, then 30 minutes later do a final shape for the second boule. That way the boules are staggered so they will be ready to bake at separate times. Place the dough, upside down, into floured bannetons. The dough will now proof until they are about one and a half times the size they started out. The dough will feel bouncy and bubbly when it is ready to bake and if you press your finger into the side of the dough, the indent will slowly fill back in. If the dough isn’t ready, the indent will bounce right back or it will not make an indent in the dough at all.
Depending on your starter’s vigor and the room temperature, it usually takes 3–4 hours for the dough to be ready or proofed (this dough is a bit on the slow side). However, it sometimes takes longer. To speed up the process, find a warm place around 80–85°F/ 26–29°C to proof your dough.
Your oven and baking stone should be heated to 450ºF/232ºC for a full hour before baking. The baking stone should placed in the middle of the oven or one level under the middle. It can be tricky to decide when to start heating your oven and have it hot enough when the first loaf is ready to bake. If you are not sure when to start heating the oven, just turn it on after the dough has been proofing for one hour.
Five minutes before baking your first loaf, put the roasting lid or foil cover into the oven to preheat. Dust the loaf and the peel with flour or cornmeal and turn the dough out onto the peel. Or you can place the peel on top of the bannetons and turn them both over, allowing the dough to transfer to the peel. While the dough is on the peel, slash the top with the lame or sharp knife. With a quick jerk of the peel and some confidence, get the dough onto the baking stone. Then working quickly, spray the loaf all over its outer surface with water and place the hot foil or roasting lid over the dough. Close the oven and set
timer for 20 minutes.
After the 20 minutes is over, using mitts or kitchen gloves, carefully remove the lid. Place the hot lid on top of the oven to have it ready for the next loaf. Bake your loaf of sourdough for 10–15 more minutes until it is nicely brown and the interior of the loaf registers around 105–110°F on a food thermometer. Remove the loaf from the oven. Cool the loaf on a cooling rack. Place the roasting lid back into the oven and heat the oven for 5–10 minutes. Repeat the baking directions for the second loaf.
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Start, grow, and bake your own delicious, homemade sourdough bread, with or without commercial yeast!
Homemade Sourdough is the ultimate guide to creating your own sourdough bread. Learn sourdough formulas and recipes and follow along as the author explains the science behind sourdough and provides a guide to the world of starters, wild yeasts, proofing, pre-ferments, and motherdough.
Homemade Sourdough provides dozens of recipes, not just for bread but for other baked goods, from muffins to pizza crust to chocolate cake. Sourdough is especially attractive to anyone who is aiming for a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle and also those who want the health benefits of bread made through fermentation. Sourdough rises through the action of lactic acid, so it doesn't require storebought yeast ”but the sourdough starter method works beautifully with either commercial yeast or wild yeast.
For those interested in lowering their intake of gluten, sourdough preparations can produce lively, tasty loaves with lower amounts of gluten than other methods.
There is no better way to embrace heritage flavors and time-tested bread-baking techniques than with sourdough. Foodies, farmers, DIYers, and locavores will want to devour this book.