EVERYDAY SOURDOUGH

This is a great simple and versatile everyday loaf that can be varied according to what flour you have. Delicious as fresh bread for the first 2 days and then perfect for toast from day 3-5 if it hasn’t all been demolished by then!

Ingredients

100g active strong white starter (mix 70g strong white flour, 70g water and 20g old starter 6-10hrs hours before you want to start making your loaf)

400g water, at hand warm temp (approx. 30⁰C)

400g strong white flour

100g wholegrain rye, spelt or wholemeal wheat flour

10g fine ground unrefined sea salt eg Cornish

Brown rice flour for flouring banneton

Background info about sourdough

 

FLOUR

  • In bread making you use strong flour, which has a higher proportion of a type of protein, which forms gluten when mixed with water. Gluten gives bread its structure and characteristic texture.

  • Types of flour typically used in bread making

  • Strong White (primarily Endosperm)

  • Wholewheat/Wholemeal. This flour uses the whole wheat grain and includes the bran and wheat germ.

  • For sourdough bread I recommend you using organic, stoneground flour wherever possible.

SOURDOUGH STARTER

  • A fermented flour and water (in equal quantities) mixture containing natural wild yeasts and bacteria which is used to rise your loaf of bread, in place of fast action yeast

  • Wild yeast and bacteria in the surrounding air, in the grain itself and from our hands feed on the simple sugars in the flour, which produces carbon dioxide (helps bread rise), lactic acid (gives the bread flavour and prevents harmful microbes from growing) and enzymes, which break down some of the gluten

  • Isn’t as fast acting as commercial yeast, meaning a sourdough dough requires a larger proportion of starter:flour (usually 20% of the weight of flour) and longer to prove.

 

To make a starter from scratch:

  • Take a clean glass jar or plastic tupperware

  • Weigh in 20g water (hand warm 25-35⁰C) and 20g strong white flour. Stir with your fingers or a wooden spoon until well combined.

  • Seal but make sure your container is not completely air-tight

  • Leave at room temp/on a slightly warm surface for approx. 12hrs.

  • After 12 hrs throw away half the mixture and ‘feed’ with 20g each of flour and water.

  • Continue to repeat this process until your mixture is looking really bubbly

Using your starter:

  • you want it to be looking really bubbly and active before you use it to make a sourdough. To test it is ready, place a little in a bowl of water and it should float. To achieve this, 6-10hrs* before you want to start making your sourdough, throw away the majority of the old starter, leaving a little in the bottom of the jar, and feed it with equal quantities of flour and water. Leave at room temp.

  • E.g. If you need 100g active starter I recommend feeding 2tsp old starter with 75g flour and 75g water so that you always have a little starter left for your next loaf. The reason why you feed a little old starter with a lot is to overwhelm a small amount of yeast with food.

  • * The time it takes for your starter to be ready to use depends on the following:

  1. Temperature of the water (i.e. colder à ready slower)

  2. Ambient temperature (i.e. warmer à ready faster)

  3. Quantity of old starter you use (i.e. more à ready faster)

  4. Type of flour you use. Eg. Rye has high enzyme activity and so peaks more quickly!

So it’s about getting to understand your starter and finding a timeframe that works for you!

Keeping your starter:

  • If you are baking and using your starter at least 3x week you can keep it at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. If you are only going to use it once or week a so, it is best to keep it in the fridge. This slows down its activity, meaning it can be fed less frequently, thereby preventing less flour wastage, but may need 2 feeds (i.e. do the above process x2) before it is ready to bake with.

BENEFITS OF MAKING/EATING SOURDOUGH

  • You control what your bread is made from! Flour, water, salt and starter is all you need

  • So much more flavourful

  • Lower gluten content due to enzyme breakdown over the long fermentation process

  • More digestible

 

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT

Electric Scales

Banneton (proving basket)

Loaf tins

Kilner jar for your starter or similar

Flexible plastic dough scraper

Razor blade for scoring loaf

Le Cruset/Dutch Oven/Heavy duty baking tray for baking

Method: - click to see this method visually over on my instagram

AUTOLOSIS (the delayed salt method – allows a solid gluten structure to develop without any effort, resulting in a stretchy, easy to handle dough)

  • In a large bowl mix together the starter and water with your hands until combined and then mix in the flour. Scrape down any excess on the side of the bowl and loosely cover and leave for an hour at room temp.

 

PINCH IN THE SALT (required for dough elasticity, strength and flavour)

  • Sprinkle the salt over the dough, then use your thumb and forefinger to pinch and squeeze the dough. Do this a few times until the salt is incorporated and the dough begins to tighten up.

  • Gather the dough together, scrape down edges, cover your bowl and leave the rest 20 mins.

 

STRETCH & FOLD (slowly develops gluten structure)

  • Use slightly wet hands to prevent the dough sticking to them. Sliding your fingers underneath the dough, pull a section of the dough out to the side (careful not to rip it) and fold it into the middle of the ball of dough. Repeat this, going around the dough, 6-8 times. You should feel the dough firming up.

  • Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes, then repeat this process (stretch-fold, rest) another 2 times.

  • After the final folding, cover and allow the dough to rest in a warm place for about 1.5hrs, until it has increased in volume by approx. a third.

 

PRE-SHAPING

  • Turn your dough out onto lightly floured surface. Stretch out one side of the dough and fold over the dough. Repeat this with each of the four ‘sides’ of the dough. Turn the dough over so that it is fold side down on the counter surface, then use a dough scraper/your hands to firm up the dough by pushing it from different angles.

  • Sprinkle the dough surface with flour and leave to rest for 20 minutes. This lets the gluten relax, making the final shaping easier

 

 

FINAL SHAPING

  • Flour the work surface next to the dough and flip the dough so the that the surface facing you is face down on the work surface. Again imagine the dough has 4 sides. Fold each side towards the centre so you end up with a square. Then do the same and grab each corner, folding them into the centre. Then flip the dough back over so the seam is down against the surface, then tighten again with your dough scraper

  • Flour your banneton and place your dough into it upside down, with the seam facing up and the smooth side on the bottom

 

 

ROOM TEMP PROVE

  • For approximately 1-2 hour(s) until it fills approx. ¾ volume of the banneton. This will vary according to the room temp and how much the dough has already risen while in the bowl.

 

 

COLD PROVING (retarding – the cold slows the fermentation)

  • Put the dough in the fridge, covered with a plastic bag, to develop more flavour for approx. 12hours before baking

 

BAKING

  • Preheat oven to 250⁰C. Place a roasting dish in bottom of oven to heat up as well as a baking tray to turn out your loaf onto. Fill a jug with 500ml boiling water and place next to the oven ready to use

  • Carefully loosen your proved dough from the sides of its banneton. Lightly flour your hot baking tray, turn the dough carefully onto it and score a pattern with quick, swift movements.

  • Place loaf into the oven and at the same time pour the water into the roasting tin. This creates steam which helps the loaf rise and develop a nice crust.

  • Bake for approx. 20 minutes. Remove the steam tray for the oven. Bake for a further 15 minutes. Tap the base of the loaf – a hollow sound indicates its baked. If you want more of a crust, you can return it to the oven upside down for a further 5 mins.

  • Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

GET IN TOUCH

LONDON | HAMPSHIRE

FOLLOW ME

  • Instagram